Julian woman missing after leap from moving car on I-80

lfalce@centredaily.comJuly 4, 2014 

State police conducted a hunt for a missing local woman after she jumped from a moving car on Interstate 80 on Friday.

Susan L. Bachman, 37, of Julian, was on her way to Clarion with her parents. Her father, William Bachman, said that his daughter suffered from “emotional problems,” which had rendered the two-time Penn State grad, with degrees in life sciences and nursing, unable to work as a registered nurse in recent years.

After a consultation with Centre County Can Help, the family took the experts’ advice and decided to take Susan to get help. They looked at Centre County possibilities, like Mount Nittany and The Meadows, but decided to go wtih Clarion Psychiatric Center. Part of the reason they made that call, her father said, was that the facility was willing to take the troubled woman as a voluntary commitment. Other facilities wanted the placement to be involuntary.

Her father drove, with Susan in the front seat. Her mother rode in the back. They were just between DuBois and Clarion, just after 8 a.m., when it happened.

William Bachman said he saw her reach for the handle as he was driving between 60 and 65 mph. He tried to stop her, but couldn’t. He did manage to slow to about 50 mph, he said.

Susan hit the ground. She rolled a bit, but she was at least uninjured enough to get up and run. She made a break for the woods. That was the last her parents saw of her.

“My wife got out of the car and started running after her,” said William Bachman. But Susan was long gone before her mother reached the fence that she climbed over before she disappeared.

State police at DuBois were on the scene before even being called, stopping to help what looked like a vehicle in distress, with flashing lights. They quickly called in help. Firefighters, search and rescue and ambulances were all called. Even dogs and helicopters were part of the five-hour search.

All that was found was Susan’s wallet, in an old barn, with her credit card, ATM card and driver’s license, and her disabled cellphone.

The family has worked quickly to try to do something to find Susan. Her brother created a website, www.findsusanbachman.com. Her father spent time emailing media to bring other people’s attention to his daughter’s disappearance.

Police say Susan Bachman is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighs about 120 pounds. She has red hair and green eyes, She was last seen wearing a blue flannel shirt and blue jeans.

A mental health warrant has been issued for her. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at DuBois at 371-4652.

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