Rock Prank Injury

Reports Of Rock Prank Injury Are On The Rise

This dangerous joke is far from funny.

Sharon Budd is in critical condition after she suffered a rock prank injury from a Highway Overpass.  Right now, the school teacher and mother of four is fighting for her life after she suffered a serious rock prank injury.  The rock prank injury occurred when a group of teenagers threw rocks over a bridge on a Pennsylvania highway.  Budd, 52, of Uniontown, Ohio, was traveling with her family and friends on a road trip to New York City.  The group was driving under an overpass. Budd was sitting in the car’s passenger seat.  And then, “an explosion,” as her husband Randy Budd calls it.

“My daughter, who was driving, starts screaming,” Randy Budd told ABC News. “She said, ‘Dad, what’s going on?’”

During the rock prank injury, a rock, about 8 inches thick, had crashed through the windshield and struck Budd in the head, causing her to lose an eye.  They do know Sharon Budd suffered a severe brain injury.  Only time will tell the extent of her injury.

Although one of the boys said that the rock flew out of his hands during a slip and fall, but this was quickly disproved.  Investigators say the rock was thrown by a group of teenagers playing a prank from the overpass during the rock prank injury incident.  The Pennsylvania teenagers now stand charged as adults as the result of the rock prank injury incident.   In the negligent personal injury they caused during the highway rock-throwing incident in Pennsylvania.

Three Pennsylvania teenagers now stand charged as adults in a highway rock prank injury.  Two juveniles have told police a 17-year-old is the teen who threw a rock from an Interstate 80 overpass that smashed through the window which caused the rock prant injury.  The rock caused a car accident and critically injured a passenger.  Dylan Lahr and his 18-year-old brother Brett have been charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy, propelling missiles into a vehicle, possession of an instrument of crime and reckless endangering.  Seventeen-year-old Milton resident Tyler Gregory Porter also appeared in court on charges including aggravated assault and conspiracy.

State police say the teens drove to an Interstate 80 overpass July 10 to throw rocks. One large rock blasted through the Budd family’s car windshield where it hit the 52-year-old Uniontown, Ohio, resident.

Do dangerous road prank injury incidents happen often?

Recently, a woman got glass in her eyes after a chunk of asphalt crashed through her windshield in Festus, Missouri. About a dozen vehicles were damaged by rocks thrown onto Interstate 70 in Columbus, Ohio, in March. In October, three children were seen running off after several vehicles were struck in Buffalo. And last August, two boys were accused of throwing rocks off an Interstate 5 overpass in Woodburn, Oregon.

How is PennDOT responding?

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said such attacks are rare, but the highway agency has begun evaluating the incident with state police to see if there’s some sort of action they can take in response.

“In populated areas with sidewalks or in areas near playgrounds, interstate and expressway overpasses usually have fences,” Kirkpatrick said. “This incident happened in a rural area where there are no sidewalks, and we will have to determine the best way to deal with these senseless acts.

The recent rock prank injury incident has left some asking:  If a minor causes a rock prank injury because he or she participated in the prank, and someone gets hurt, who is responsible for the damage? breaks down minors, parents, and vicarious liability.

Vicarious Liability is a legal doctrine that, in the past, was used to hold parents financially responsible for the carelessness of their children. Parents were considered to be in charge of their children’s actions, and so parents were also responsible for any accidents their children caused. Today, the doctrine of vicarious liability doesn’t exist in the same strict sense.  There are a number of ways in which teenagers and/or their parents can be held responsible for damages stemming from wickless behavior or a car accident.

If you are involved in an accident with a teen driver, you may be able to bring an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against:

  • the minor directly, for his or her wreckless behavior, negligence, careless driving, etc.
  • the minor’s parent(s), if they knew or should have known the child had a propensity for the behavior that caused the accident
  • the minor’s parent(s), if your state has a law called the “Family Purpose Doctrine”

In an incident like the one above, pursuing a reckless teenager for damages would not likely be the most common way to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.  If you do not believe that bringing a claim against a teenager is the best course of action, you do have the option to bring a claim against the parents of a minor.

There are a lot of loop holes that you will need to overcome if you do decide to bring a claim against the parents of a negligent teen.  There are two scenarios needed for you claim against the parent to be successful:

  1.  Did the parent know that his or her child is likely to cause an accident?  Did they not stop it from happening?
  2. Did the parent lend his or her car to a family member that has displayed untrustworthy behavior?
  3. Did the parent know or should have know that the minor was likely to cause the sort of accident that occurred?  Has the minor exemplified any of the following behavior in the past.

It’s not enough for the parent merely to know of their teen driver’s bad habits. The habit must have caused the accident.   If a parent knew or should have known that a minor driver was likely to cause the sort of car accident that occurred, the parent may be held financially responsible for any damages caused by the accident. Examples of this would be if parents knew or should have known that their child had a habit of:

  • reckless driving
  • speeding
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • running red lights
  • using cell phones and other devices while driving
  • careless behavior

If you answered “Yes” to either of the questions above, you may have a good claim against the parents of a minor, if they caused an accident.


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