After being seriously injured over a year ago by rocks thrown over an interstate overpass, a Uniontown, Ohio woman named Sharon Budd is now making sure that no one else will go through what she has. She is urging Pennsylvania and Ohio lawmakers to install protective fences on all new highway overpasses, to prevent people from throwing objects over them.
Seven surgeries later, Sharon has had an eye removed and part of her skull replaced. The four-and-a-half pound rock that 19-year-old Bret Lahr hurled over the overpass shattered the windshield and hit Budd in the face, causing her severe injuries and permanent brain damage. Though they are pursuing a civil suit, Budd’s husband has stated publicly that a slap on the wrist is not enough. What was supposed to be a prank changed their lives forever. Lahr will be serving at least 18 months in prison for this “prank,” which sentencing judge Michael Sholley called “pure evil.”
Budd’s family will be facing almost $2 million in medical expenses, but one of their biggest concerns is with the installation of the fence. According to a statement from PennDOT, Sharon’s injury “appears to have been an isolated incident and the individuals involved are facing prosecution for their actions,” They report, “We have not installed fencing at this site as we were informed by law enforcement that there have been no other reported incidents at this site.”
With over 99,939 businesses in the United States offering fencing products and services, PennDOT’s hesitation must be a budgetary concern. Deputy Press Secretary Erin Waters-Trasatt said, “The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation criteria for placing fencing on overpasses has not changed since Budd was injured just before midnight last June 10.”