Sharon Budd was teary-eyed when the phone call concluded.
During a late-night car trip from eastern Ohio with her husband and daughter last week, Budd was in the passenger seat talking to her 28-year-old son Lucas as he readied to deploy to Afghanistan with the Ohio National Guard.
Stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, Lucas sent his mom a photo of himself at the end of the chat.
“My son’s picture was the last thing she saw,” Sharon’s husband, Randy Budd, told the Akron Beacon Journal. “She was crying, but it was a good cry.”
As their vehicle continued about 65 mph on Interstate 80 toward New York City on Thursday, a rock burst through the windshield, hitting Budd in the face.
“We were all awake and talking and wow, it felt like the car exploded,” Randy Budd said. He was in the backseat; their daughter Kaylee, 19, was driving.
Teenagers allegedly tossed a rock from a highway overpass near Milton, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania state police told TheBlaze on Wednesday that the rock was about the size of a softball, weighing about 4 pounds. Two older teenage males, ages 17 and 18, were out on bail after being charged with aggravated assault and numerous felonies in connection with the incident.
Budd, 52, was rushed to a hospital. She lost an eye, and the family was told to prepare for the worst. Two specialists removed portions of her facial bones to ease swelling on her brain. WOIO-TV in Cleveland reported that Budd remained unconscious and in critical condition Tuesday; her husband told the Journal that his wife of 31 years has moved her hands and toes.
“Their life as they knew it will never, ever, ever be the same,” family friend Linda Busch told WOIO. “But I have hope, because she’s a fighter. I have a lot of hope.”
Randy Budd said as much, noting his wife — a middle school language arts teacher and mother of four — is also a breast cancer survivor.
“She’s a tough lady,” he told the Journal. “She’s a fighter.”
Budd’s school — Edison Middle School in Massillon, Ohio — raised thousands of dollars for her in just one day.
“When you know and love her like we do, it’s no surprise,” principal Diane Kittelberger, who made the trip to the hospital in Pennsylvania, told the Journal.
Also at Budd’s side is her son Lucas, who received a delay of his deployment to be with his family.
“She’s super strong,” he told WOIO, noting that just like getting through cancer, she will “fight through this too.”
While Lucas Budd has been permitted to stay until July 24, he’ll be away for a year when he does deploy.
Budd’s best friends — “The Breakfast Club” — started a GoFundMe site for her, WOIO noted.
“That’s what will get her through this,” Busch told the station. “The love that she has for her family.”
Pennsylvania state police told TheBlaze on Wednesday that two other 17-year-old males are under investigation in connection with the incident, but no charges have been filed against them.