Investigators probe the death of a woman who was struck by a rock through a windshiled on Routes 5 and 20

Barbara Jean Amidon, a retired teacher’s aide from Waterloo, was on her way to a picnic Saturday — the passenger in a car headed west along Routes and 20 in the town of Seneca. Ms. Amidon sat in the front seat beside her date, Greg Sterman of Geneva, who was at the wheel. The day was hot and sunny and they looked forward to joining the gathering in Castile, just a little over an hour away.

They never made it past the intersection with County Road 5. As Sterman later told police, that is when a rock that seemed to bounce from the rear of an 18-wheeler smashed through the windshield and struck Ms. Amidon in the head. Sterman immediately turned the car around and headed back along Routes 5 and 20 to the nearest hospital, Geneva General Hospital.

Deputies were called to the hospital at 12:28 p.m. With her head injury so severe, Ms. Amidon was quickly flown from Geneva General by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital. That is where she died Saturday, about 9 p.m.

In 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.

On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office put out a statement saying “investigators continue to attempt to identify the tractor trailer which propelled a rock into the windshield of an automobile that resulted in fatal injuries …” The office also released a photo of Sterman’s 2010 Chevrolet Impala showing the hole in the windshield from the flying rock.

“It’s possible the vehicle’s operator may not have known the rock was thrown from its vehicle,” Cirencione said during the press conference. The Sheriff’s Office has the rock that landed in the back seat of the car.

Cirencione described the rock as oblong in 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 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 an 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.”

An obituary for Ms. Amidon posted on the website for Palmisano-Mull Funeral Home LLC in Geneva says family and friends may call Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home, 28 Genesee St. in Geneva.

Ms. Amidon, 74, a Geneva native, leaves behind children, grandchildren and many other loved ones who include Greg Sterman, of Geneva. Contributions may be directed to Mercy Flight Central, 2420 Brickyard Road, Canandaigua NY 14424.