REXBURG — At first, the Blattner family thought it was a rock that had launched through their vehicle’s windshield, grazing two adults in the vehicle.
They later learned it was a bullet.
Dallas Blattner and his family live near Arco. He said on June 15, he, along with his wife and two young children, got in the car and started driving to Rexburg to drop off his computer to get fixed at a local store.
He was driving on Idaho Highway 33 near the Unified Sportmen’s Club gun range in Madison County and close to Beaver Dick Park. His wife was in the passenger’s seat, and his two kids were in the backseat. He remembers seeing a vehicle parked on the side of the road with two men standing next to it and then hearing an explosion inside their car while driving past.
“There was glass in the air. It was so much pressure that came through. My face hurt. My nose was sore,” said Blattner. “My wife was leaned over and looking at her phone. It clipped her head, cut some of her hair, and embedded glass in her head. I didn’t realize it at the time because I think of the sheer adrenaline of it after it hit her, (but) it hit me in the shoulder.”
There were no injuries to their children. Blattner believed it was a rock that had come through the windshield. It was very painful for his wife.
“She said she felt like she got hit in the head with a baseball bat and just the sheer force with whatever had struck her,” he said.
Blattner said he called the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident and took his wife to Madison Memorial Hospital, where she was looked at. A deputy came to take a report.
“In the passenger side of the windshield, there was a hole approximately one inch in diameter,” the deputy wrote in the report. “They briefly searched around their vehicle and were unable to find the object. They will send me a picture of the object if/when found.”
Blattner got a big bruise on his shoulder from the incident despite wearing both a shirt and sweatshirt at the time.
“It still broke my skin… and put a baseball-sized black and blue bruise,” he explained.
He took his vehicle to get repaired, and it wasn’t until almost a month later, on July 13, that a .45 caliber bullet was found under the passenger seat by his car repair man.
“I am glad our little kids didn’t get hurt. It could have been substantially worse than it turned out,” he said.
He contacted the Madison County Sheriff’s Office again to follow up.
“The damage to the windshield and the abrasion on (Blattner’s wife’s) head suggests it was traveling at a lower velocity and was not fired directly at the vehicle but was a ricochet originating from the Beaver Dick / Cartier Slough area. The location of the impact point and direction the bullet went would also suggest a ricochet,” the deputy wrote in his report.
Blattner told EastIdahoNews.com that people need to be aware.
He said he is a sportsman and learned when he got his hunting license to always know what you are shooting, know what’s behind your target and never point a gun at something you are not intending to shoot or harm.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed with EastIdahoNews.com that the case has been closed. However, there is a safety message.
“People should always be careful when they are shooting. They should know that they are shooting in a safe direction, in a safe area and that their bullets travel and if there is not a good backstop behind them, they can travel further than they might anticipate and they should not shoot in public areas,” said Isaac Payne, a spokesman for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.