Marble hits, injures driver
BYRON — Savanna Baxter knows she's very, very lucky.
About 1:30 Monday afternoon, she was driving north on Olmsted County Road 5 near Oxbow Park when she met a southbound dark, four-door sedan with tinted windows.
"I didn't hear or see anything," Baxter, 25, said, "but all of a sudden, I was bleeding profusely and realized I'd been struck with something."
Her cousin, who was with her, called 911 as the two tried to stop the bleeding. An EMT told her it looked like a puncture wound.
Less than an hour later, she was in the emergency department of a Rochester hospital. A CT scan was taken, then an X-ray, which revealed an object lodged in her face, about an inch below her left eye.
Medical personnel had no idea what it was, Baxter said, only that it wasn't metallic.
Tuesday morning, Baxter had surgery to remove the object — a white marble, about 1.5 mm in diameter.
"They went through an incision in my mouth to suck the object out with a vacuum, if you will," she explained. The procedure took about an hour.
"I'm not in any type of pain other than the pain of the incision," Baxter said Tuesday evening, "but it hurts very much to open my mouth."
She's on a puree diet for a week and will return to the doctor next week for more X-rays.
She's left with fractures to her sinus cavity and several stitches, but she knows it could have been much, much worse.
For one thing, her 19-month-old daughter, Luna, was in a car seat directly behind her.
"I'm glad it was me, quite honestly," Baxter said.
The incident had the potential to be deadly, not only because of the damage the marble itself could have done, but because of one more factor: Baxter was recently diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis, a blood-clotting disorder.
She nearly lost her leg and now takes a blood-thinner to control it. Medical staff had to reverse the effect of the medication in order to remove the marble.
It's nearly impossible for the marble to have come from somewhere other than the vehicle Baxter met on the roadway, she said.
"There was no one else around — I mean, we were in the middle of nowhere, and the marble was too big to get stuck in a tire, then fly up and go through my window," she said.
Capt. Scott Behrns of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, agrees.
"Some kids — and I assume they're kids — are damn lucky they didn't kill someone," he said. Officials believe the marble was likely launched by a slingshot of some sort.
"It's stupid to do it in the first place," Behrns said, "but they could've killed this woman. She's lucky she didn't have a nasty car wreck or bleed to death. It could've hit her in the eye and blinded her."
Neither Baxter nor her cousin know how many people were in the other vehicle.
Though no similar reports have come in, Baxter wants people to be aware of the incident.
"This is a serious crime," she said. "Parents need to look after their kids, so they aren't playing with things they shouldn't and intending to cause harm. This situation could have been much worse."
Behrns was much more succinct: "You can quote me on this: Knock this (expletive) off."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 328-6800. You may remain anonymous.