By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) – The husband of a woman who was permanently disfigured when a group of teenagers dropped a rock onto her car from a Pennsylvania highway overpass has killed himself, medical examiner officials said on Monday.
Randy Budd, 55, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Uniontown, Ohio home late on Saturday, Harry Campbell, Stark County Coroner’s chief investigator, said.
Budd had spoken with his brother by telephone several times on the night of his death, Campbell said. His brother, who found the body, was traveling to Budd’s home at the time of the suicide, Campbell said.
Campbell declined to say what the conversation with Budd’s brother was about. Budd had texted several other family members shortly before his death, Campbell said.
Budd had helped care for his wife, teacher Sharon Budd, since she was struck in the face by the large rock that smashed through her windshield in the July 11, 2014, attack as she and her family drove on Interstate 80 in Union County, Pennsylvania.
Since the rock attack, which crushed part of Sharon Budd’s skull and caused her to lose the use of an eye, Budd had fought for legislation requiring fencing be installed on new overpasses.
“What a tragic loss,” state Senator Gene Yaw, who introduced a protective fencing bill at Budd’s urging, said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers to Randy Budd’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Two hours before his body was discovered, Budd texted Yaw with the message, “Please get the fence issue settled,” the Patriot-News reported.
Four men, who were in their late teens at the time of the incident, have been convicted in Sharon Budd’s injury.
Dylan Lahr, of New Columbia, Pennsylvania, was the accused ringleader, was sentenced to 18 months to 20 years in prison.
Sentences for Keefer McGee, Brett Lahr and Tyler Porter ranged from 11 and a half months to four and a half years.
(Editing by Frank McGurty and Alan Crosby)