Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > December 7, 2004


Thursday, December 02, 2004


The Express-Times

N. WHITEHALL TWP. -- State police are investigating whether a stray bullet that seriously injured a pregnant woman outside her home Tuesday afternoon was fired from a hunter's gun.

Casey Burns, 18, of the 1500 block of Clearview Road was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, hospital officials said. She is seven months pregnant with her first child.

Police and Burns' family members say she was sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle in her driveway about 4:45 p.m. when a bullet shattered the front driver's side window and struck her in the head.

"We've interviewed several hunters that were in the area at the time," said state police Capt. Scott Snyder of Troop M in Bethlehem.

"Our investigation is not complete yet and we haven't come to a definitive conclusion, but it seems likely that it was a stray bullet from a hunter," he said.

Burns' home is surrounded by privately owned land that is suitable for hunting, Snyder said. He did not say how many hunters police interviewed in connection with the shooting, or whether any of them had permission from the property owner to be there Tuesday.

Monday marked the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania, and Snyder said incidents involving stray bullets are common around this time.

"Typically, every year during the first couple days of hunting season there are incidents of rifle rounds that strike buildings or cars," he said. "Certainly the one where the woman was struck is a tragic set of circumstances."

If Burns' shooting proves to be the result of careless hunting, it would be the second such incident in Lehigh County since deer season began.

Brian Mack of Washington Township reported that rifle rounds passed through three walls at his Mack Lane home about 7:30 a.m. Monday. No one was hurt in that incident.

Snyder said potential charges for a hunter involved in an accidental shooting vary depending on the result, and range from summary to felony offenses.

A message left for the Burns family on Wednesday night was not returned.

Reporter Precious Petty can be reached at 610-867-5000 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Copyright 2004 NJ.com. All Rights Reserved.


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