A rock from a tractor trailer smashed through a vehicle windshield and struck a woman who died Saturday night

Barbara Amidon of Waterloo and Gregory Sterman of Geneva were on their way to a picnic midday Saturday when tragedy struck. As the couple headed west along Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Seneca, a rock shooting from the back of an 18-wheeler smacked their windshield — with a force so great it shot through the windshield and struck Ms. Amidon in the head.

According to Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Sterman immediately turned the car around and headed back east to get Ms. Amidon to nearby Geneva General Hospital. Ms. Amidon’s injuries were so severe, she was soon flown from Geneva General by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Ms. Amidon, 74, died at the hospital Saturday about 9 p.m.

During a press conference Sunday, Lt. David Cirencione with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office said in his 16 years with the Sheriff’s Office he has never known anything like this to happen. Rocks, deer and other objects strike windshields, he said, but never has a rock penetrated a windshield and killed someone.

Investigators are asking for help in identifying the driver and vehicle to learn more about how this happened. “There is no reason to believe there was criminal intent,” Cirencione said.

Deputies were called at 12:28 p.m. Saturday to Geneva General for the report of a woman struck by a rock on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Seneca. According to Sterman’s account, they were headed west just before noon in his 2010 Chevrolet Impala when a rock from a white, 18-wheeler tractor trailer bounced on the pavement and shot through the passenger side of the windshield striking Ms. Amidon.

“It’s possible the vehicle’s operator may not have known the rock was thrown from its vehicle,” said Cirencione.

The Sheriff’s Office has the rock that landed in the back seat of the car.

Cirencione said the rock is oblong shape, 5-inches wide, 2 inches high and 3 inches long.

The rock came from the rear, lower area of the tractor trailer, according to the account. Cirencione said it’s unclear whether the rock came off the truck or was kicked up.

“Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the Amidon and Sterman families during this very difficult time,” Cirencione said at the press conference that was held at the jail. Cirencione said Ms. Amidon and Sterman were dating and headed to the Castile area in Wyoming County for a gathering and picnic when the tragedy occurred.

Cirencione was asked at the press conference what it was like to respond to such a freak, tragic incident.

“Those of us who work here travel that road every day, sometimes on patrol and sometimes with our families,” Cirencione said. “It is difficult because we recognize this happened to people we are sworn to serve and protect and it just as easily could have happened to one of us or our family. So it is very difficult.”

He asked that anyone traveling Routes 5 and 20 between Flint and Geneva on Saturday between 11:55 a.m and 12:10 p.m. who may have information relative to the investigation to call the Sheriff’s Office at 800 394-4560.

INITIAL REPORT:

The Ontario County Sheriff's Office is investigating a fatal freak accident in the death of a Waterloo woman Saturday night.

Sheriff deputies say Gregory Sterman, 65, of Geneva was driving west on County Road 5 in the town of Seneca at approximately noon when a rock penetrated the windshield and struck the passenger, Barbara Amidon.

Sterman drove the 74-year-old Amidon to Geneva General Hospital where she was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment. 

Amidon succumbed to her injures and died at Strong Hospital Saturday night.

Responders believe there was a passing truck that threw the stone from the area of its wheels.

Anyone who may have been in the area or has information is asked to call the Ontario County Sheriff's Office at (800) 394-4560.