An East Bay nurse is recovering from a horrific act of violence that may have cost her right eye. The mother of two was severely injured by a rock while driving to work in Concord. The rock smashed the car’s windshield, when it was apparently thrown from an overpass.
It happened two days before Christmas on State Highway 242 near the Olivera Road overpass in Concord.
More than a handful of similar object-throwing incidents have occurred within the same vicinity, causing damage to cars, according to the California Highway Patrol. A grandmother was killed back in April.
In this case, the mother is thankful she survived, but upset by a heinous, life-changing act.
"There was not an emergency on the road I had to swerve out of the way for," said victim Pam Burnett. "There was nothing. This was all senseless and without purpose."
Last Wednesday at 10:45 p.m. the labor and delivery nurse was headed to work at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. As she was driving on State Highway 242 about to take the State Route 4 interchange to Martinez, she heard a loud bang and then felt immediate pain.
"I started freaking out," said Burnett. "I couldn’t see something hit me in the face. I thought my brain was bleeding."
She blindly pulled over using Siri to call 911. Police had found a rock the size of a grapefruit in her car, later determined it was likely thrown from the Olivera Road overpass.
"The rock hit the right side of my face, hit my right and left eyebrow," said Burnett.
Burnett underwent reconstructive surgery on Christmas. She has vision in her left eye but not right.
"We are now waiting on my right eye to see if it's savable or not," said Burnett.
"I’m really sad for my wife but I’m so angry," said Steve Burnett, her husband.
Several similar incidents have been reported from the same area on the highway. Back in April, a 63-year-old grandmother from Antioch was killed when someone threw a brick. So far, no arrests.
"They are saying it’s hard because there are no cameras in the area but since it’s happened before you’d think they’d have the ability to put some cameras up," said Steve Burnett.
At one point, his wife feared the visual she has of her children today would be her last. She’s thankful that's not the case.
"To have that sight in my left eye, it means a lot to me that I will get to see them grow," said Pam Burnett.
There is a GoFundMe account collecting donations for Pam Burnett.