A Jamestown woman suffered major facial injuries when a rock was thrown through her car’s windshield Sunday night on Highway 108 near the Montezuma Junction.
“The family is OK. We are hanging together. They are getting a lot of support from the church community,” said Rick Modrell, whose mother and father, Tom Modrell, are 20-plus-year pastors at the Country Cowboy Church in James-town.
Donna Modrell, 64, is in critical condition at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. She was scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery at the hospital at 9 a.m. today, said her son, Rick Modrell, of Sonora.
The incident occurred about 9:15 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
Stacey Knight was driving a 2004 Mitsubishi sedan east on Highway 108, near the Highway 49 turnoff to Yosemite, when her windshield was hit by a rock. It was deflected, but Knight pulled to the side of the road to assess the damage, said CHP Officer Olga Boenisch, who responded to the call.
Knight, then saw an SUV behind her swerving and eventually hitting the highway’s south embankment, Boenisch said.
It was Donna Modrell’s eastbound 2007 GMC Yukon. It had also been hit by a rock, which penetrated the windshield and struck her face, Boenisch said.
The CHP later determined the rock was 7-by-3 inches in size.
After being hit, the Yukon swerved onto the south side of the highway, then crossed back over to the north side, where it hit the embankment.
Modrell’s husband, Tom Modrell, jumped from the car and yelled, “My wife’s been shot. My wife’s been shot” Boenisch said.
Donna Modrell was flown to the hospital by helicopter due to the severity of her injuries.
Knight attempted to chase a car that may have been involved in the incident, but ended the pursuit for safety reasons.
Boenisch said the westbound car was a light-colored compact.
It’s unclear, however, if the rocks were thrown from the passing compact or from the side of the road, a CHP report said.
Modrell’s family and church members are offering a $2,000 reward leading to the capture and conviction of the person responsible, said Rick Modrell.
Those with information are urged to call the CHP office in Jamestown at 984-3944.
“This is a heinous act. We’re working with the California Highway Patrol,” Rick Modrell said.
He said his father was uninjured in the incident, but is distraught.
As for his mother, “She has been able to communicate with us a little bit,” he said. “With hand signals. She’s not been able to talk.”