An East Bay nurse has become the latest person struck by a rock deliberately thrown onto Highway 242 in Concord, a bizarre but apparently fairly commonplace occurrence that has already cost another woman her life.
Pam Burnett, a labor and delivery nurse at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, was on her way to work Dec. 23, about to transition from Highway 242 to the SR4 interchange to Martinez when she said he heard a loud bang and felt the immediate effects of a traumatic injury to her head.
“Someone had decided to throw a grapefruit-sized rock off an overpass, down to the freeway below, and into the front windshield of my car,” Burnett wrote. “I was immediately hit in the face with the rock and could no longer see… Fortunately, I did not lose consciousness and was able to safely pull the car to the side of the freeway and use Siri to call 911.”
Burnett suffered extensive fractures to her right orbital bone, both sides of her nose, both eyebrows, sinuses, and right cheek. She underwent reconstructive surgery on Christmas. She currently has sight in her left eye but not her right.
Doctor’s prognosis for recovery of her vision in that eye is guarded for now, Burnett said, and she has suffered some permanent sinus and nerve ending injury.
Traumatic enough on its own, we’ve reported previous incidents in the area. A 63-year-old Antioch woman was killed when the car she was in was struck by a rock during a similar occurrence in April.
Burnett has launched a GoFundMe page to help defray expenses caused by her injury. The incident has renewed calls for the installation of cameras on overpasses in the area – areas where homeless individuals and others have been seen in recent months.
Although police regularly contact and admonish individuals who take to the overpasses and are sometimes seen throwing objects off them onto traffic below, no one has been arrested in connection with the fatal incident or – so far – this most recent one.