A teenager apologized on Thursday to an Ohio teacher who suffered brain damage when her head was split open by a rock he dropped from a highway overpass, then faced a judge who sentenced him to up to 20 years in prison.
Dylan Lahr, the admitted ringleader of a group that hurled stones from the overpass on Interstate 80, turned to the victim, Sharon Budd, 53, in Union County Court of Common Pleas in Lewisburg.
“Sharon, I’m sorry,” said Lahr, 18, of New Columbia, Pennsylvania, who was shackled and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. “I feel horrible about what happened.”
Two other teens sentenced with Lahr on Thursday also apologized to Budd, who sat with her husband, Randy, and family members.
Her face disfigured by her injuries and frozen in a perpetual smile, Budd told reporters outside court, “I have bad days like anyone else.”
After nearly dying in the July 11, 2014, incident, Budd lost use of one eye and has undergone at least six surgeries because of her injuries. She had been riding with her family to New York City to see a Broadway play when she was struck.
At the sentencing on Thursday, Judge Michael Sholley ordered all three teens to serve time behind bars for the assault. Lahr was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 20 years for aggravated assault; Tyler Porter, 19, of Milton was sentenced to 22 months to 10 years for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and Keefer McGee, 18, of New Columbia, who cooperated with authorities, was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months incarceration and 500 hours of community service for aggravated assault.
A fourth defendant, Lahr’s older brother, Brett, 20, was sentenced in June to 18 months to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.
Before the punishments were meted out on Thursday, Budd’s husband told the judge that his wife was forever changed.
“This is a lifelong sentence for Sharon,” he said, his voice wavering with emotion. “I love her dearly. She was the rock of our house.”
(Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Doina Chiacu)