CEDAR FALLS | A University of Northern Iowa professor was shot in the face while driving with her family through Ohio during Thanksgiving break.
Julie Husband, associate professor and interim head of UNI’s department of languages and literatures, was struck in the jaw by a slug from a 12-gauge shotgun just outside of Toledo Sunday.
The Ohio State Patrol is still investigating who might have fired the gun.
Husband is expected to make a full recovery. The slug, typically used for hunting large game, broke her jaw.
Doctors at Toledo Hospital surgically removed the mass of metal, and her jaw will be wired shut for the next four to six weeks.
“I thought I had been shot and at first I thought it might be intentional,” Husband wrote in an email.
She said the incident triggered the memory of a TV special on the JFK assassination she had watched earlier. “I thought it might be someone trying some sort of copy-cat shot.”
Her spouse, Jim O’Loughlin, was driving their 2012 Toyota Prius on the Ohio Turnpike about 20 miles outside of Toledo when the slug shattered the passenger window, striking Husband in her right jaw. Her three children, ages 7 to 15, were in the backseat at the time.
“It’s a trip we’ve done a dozen times,” O’Loughlin said. The family was on its way to visit Husband’s family in Rochester, N.Y.
“We immediately came to a stop, and we didn’t know at the time what it was. ... There was just broken glass and blood,” he added.
Ohio State Trooper Dwayne Dotson responded to the incident.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this happen,” said Dotson, a 26-year veteran.
Dotson said the shot came from the outside the car. The family was traveling on a rural route along a partially open field.
O’Loughlin said the person who fired the gun probably did not know the fate of their shot since medical staff determined it was at the end of its trajectory.
“That person could have been half a mile away,” he said.
The couple suspect a young person may be at fault since Sunday was the last day of youth deer gun season in Ohio.
From Nov. 23 to 24, hunters 17 years old or younger are allowed to hunt. They must have a youth hunting license, a youth deer permit and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult .
“If you take a whole lot of guns, loosely regulate them and have this two-day season where children are firing a lot of weapons, this kind of incident is predictable,” O’Loughlin said.
CORRECTION ADDED (12/4): The original version of this story misspelled the first name of the Ohio state trooper quoted. His name is Dwayne Dotson. This has been corrected in the story.