The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 13, 2014

4 nabbed in I-80 rock case

Troopers: Suspects returned to scene twice to view investigation

NEW COLUMBIA — State troopers who noticed a gold Honda Accord twice driving slowly past the scene where an Ohio mother of four was critically injured by Interstate 80 rock-throwers Thursday night connected and charged the two occupants and their friends with the crime.

Brett Lahr, 18, and Dylan Lahr, 17, of 322 Showers Road, New Columbia, face identical felony charges of aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated assault; and misdemeanor counts of propulsion of missiles into an occupied vehicle or onto roadway, possessing of instruments of crime, and recklessly endangering another person.

State troopers identified the other two boys by only their initials, KLM and TGP. The relationship between the two Lahrs was unclear Saturday.

The victim, Sharon Budd, 52, of Uniontown, remained in critical condition Saturday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, according to a nursing supervisor.

Randy Budd, 53, had called emergency services at 11:59 p.m. Thursday to report something struck his vehicle and his wife needed immediate medical assistance at Mile Marker 208 eastbound, according to court documents.

A rock thrown from the overpass shattered the windshield of the Nissan in which Mrs. Budd was traveling with her husband and daughter Kaylee Budd, 19, and caused significant trauma to her head, troopers report.

KLM told state police that he, the Lahrs and TGP were driving in his Mitsubishi Eclipse on Gray Hill Road in White Deer Township, Union County, after 11 p.m. Thursday when they stopped on the overpass to Interstate 80, according to the criminal complaint.

Dylan Lahr and TGP got out of the Eclipse, threw rocks at and struck passing vehicles, KLM told troopers. He added that he saw a vehicle slow down and begin to pull off the highway, and that the four then fled to the Lahrs’ house.

Shortly thereafter, all four drove together past the scene to observe what was happening, saw one police cruiser nearby and returned to the Lahrs’ house, KLM said.

KLM and Brett Lahr returned to the scene again, noticed several more police cruisers and drove back to the Lahrs’ house.

Police checked the license plate of the gold Honda Accord, which is registered to Michael Lahr of 322 Showers Road, New Columbia.

Questioned by troopers in the presence of his parents, TGP said he threw one rock onto I-80 but did not strike a vehicle. Dylan Lahr threw at least two rocks, TGP said, and he saw one of them strike a car.

Federal charges unclear

He also said he and Dylan Lahr did not return to the scene a second time because they were the ones who threw the rocks, according to the criminal complaint.

A state police spokesman on Saturday was unsure whether federal charges would be brought in that the incidents occurred on an interstate highway.

Brett Lahr and one of the boys were arraigned late Friday night via video by on-call District Judge Lori Hackenberg, of Middleburg. Police did not say what charges have been levied against the other boys.

Brett Lahr is in Union County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail. Dylan Lahr has been released on supervised bail.

The Lahrs’ preliminary hearings are set for Thursday before District Judge Jeffrey Mensch, Mifflinburg.

“A little luck and really good, solid police work” led to the four suspects, the state police spokesman said. Troopers from the Milton station as well as the forensic unit from Montoursville and an aerial unit investigated virtually nonstop since the rocks were thrown.

“They knew time was of the essence,” the spokesman said of troopers.

The rocks were tossed from as high as 22 feet on the overpass, given estimates from the state Department of Transportation.

One rock struck a tractor-trailer driven by Matthew Baker, 55, of Plainville, Mass., who was uninjured. A minute later, the second rock struck the Budds’ vehicle.

 

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