Grandmother in coma after road rage suspect chucks coffee mug
REDDING, Calif. - A Cottonwood grandmother remained in a coma Thursday following a road rage incident which took place nine days ago.
"I'm devastated," explained Hans Vester, husband of Joann Lambrecht-Vester, the woman currently in critical condition.
Vester and his wife were traveling into Redding last Tuesday along I-5 when he admits he cut-off a driver of a dark green, early 2000s model Nissan Xterra.
"I was the driver because she just had open-heart surgery where they replaced two valves," Vester said.
Vester went on to explain how the driver "followed us real close" then "started cussing at us" even after Vester made attempts to ditch the driver of the Xterra. At this time, Vester said his wife tried to diffuse the tense situation.
"She rolled down her window and wanted to tell him calm down, nobody had gotten hurt," Vester said.
That's when Vester said the Xterra driver "threw a coffee mug right at her."
The travel-size coffee mug struck Joann in the face.
"It hit her right over the nose, on the bridge," Vester said.
That lapse in judgment and outpouring of rage had deeply cut Joann's face. Blood began to flow from her wound. Her husband went into panic-mode.
"I immediately made a u-turn and rushed to the hospital, because she is on blood thinner," Vester explained.
Joann's blood-thinning medications from her surgery, mixed with the gash on her face, pushed her already fragile heart into overdrive.
"In the last 30 seconds as I made it to the emergency, she dropped her hand and obviously her heart had stopped beating," Vester said with a sigh.
Vester said emergency crews performed CPR on his wife and were able to revive her, "but she never came out of a coma."
"I have to stay strong. I'm still going to be there for her and our grandkids. And if she comes back out, I'm still there for her," Vester said through tears.
This sudden bout of road rage could turn deadly. Joann's family members said they'll keep her on life-support for at least another week. Then, they'll be forced to make the tough decision on whether to keep her alive and hooked up to machine or let nature take its course.
Secret Witness of Shasta County has posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of the road rage suspect.
He's described as a white male between the ages of 25 to 27 years old with brown collar-length hair and a clean shaven face.
A female passenger with light brown hair was also seen riding in the dark green Xterra.
If you recognize the suspect vehicle, you're urged to call Redding Police investigators at 530-225-4214 immediately.