Explosion sends woman to hospital


A Santa Rosa woman is shaken and left with very visible wounds after picking up a piece of trash that exploded in her face. And police found a second suspicious soda bottle not far away.

The victim and Santa Rosa Police are not laughing at this sick and potentially deadly prank. The woman was walking in Santa Rosa's Howarth Park and was trying to do a good deed by picking up litter, when a plastic bottle exploded.

Colleen Schultz is back from the hospital. Her injuries are serious but she says she is lucky it wasn't worse. She said she could have lost an eye.

"It opened my lip. It cut all the way to the bone all the way up here. It's all swollen and blue. They're not sure about this finger. This finger is broken," said bottle bomb victim Schultz.

ABC7 News spoke to Schultz just after she went through several hours of surgery to repair her wounds.

Schultz and her husband were taking their regular stroll on Thursday morning on a path near the dam along Lake Ralphine. As they usually do, they picked up litter. She noticed some bottles along the banks of the lake.

"I picked up one that was fine and the other was like a liter bottle and looked like some liquid was in it. I just picked it up and it exploded. It sounded like a bomb," said Schultz.

It may have resembled an explosion from a bottle bomb which is posted on YouTube.

Nearby fishermen helped Schultz while police were called. Santa Rosa Police Sergeant Lisa Banayat explains what the soda bottle contained.

"They put in some type of substance, either acid or dried ice that creates pressure within the bottle. They are very unstable and can explode anytime whether they're picked up or not," said Sgt. Banayat

A search of the area produced a similar soda bottle. Fourteen-year-old Julian Senocack saw a sheriff's deputy neutralize it.

"He came down with his rifle and shot it, the bottle and blew it up," said Senocak.

There have been other recent incidents in the Bay Area.

In January, a 10-year-old Redwood City girl was sprayed with acid when a bottle exploded on the sidewalk near her. It was the third time that month in which chemical filled bottles had been found in San Mateo County.

Police are concerned because these are homemade devises are being made by kids and adults and are used quite often as pranks. The last time police in Santa Rosa remember a bottle bomb exploding was last year. That blast injured the child who was making it.
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