Bottle bomb explodes in woman's hand at Howarth Park

A 68-year-old woman picking up litter Thursday morning along the dam at Santa Rosa?s Howarth Park was injured when a plastic soda bottle rigged as a bomb exploded in her hand.

Colleen Schultz suffered cuts to her face and neck and injuries to her right hand, including a broken finger, said her husband, Ronald Schultz. She spent most of the day being treated at a local hospital.

?She had surgery on her lip to close a tear up to her nose,? he said. ?Her tongue was split a couple of inches, and they fixed that. Lots of lacerations. It really could have ripped open her throat.?

Santa Rosa police said the bottle may have contained dry ice or acid, common ingredients in soda bottle bombs.

?It was a device designed to explode at some point,? said Sgt. Lisa Banayat.

The explosion occurred at 9:37 a.m. north of the Lake Ralphine boathouse, near the popular park?s main parking lot off of Summerfield Road, police said.

Authorities closed off the dam, boathouse and docks to investigate, and called the Sonoma County Sheriff?s bomb squad, which detonated a second soda bottle found nearby, Banayat said. She did not provide any other details about the second bottle.

Banayat said bottle bombs of dry ice or acid can detonate any time after they are made.

She said the bomb squad searched the area before reopening it to the public, but if anyone finds a plastic container that is bulging or distended, they should leave it alone and call 911.

Colleen Schultz told police the bottle she found appeared to be about half full of liquid when she picked it up.

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