Yvonne Dorrity was brushing pine needles from a lobster trap ornament on her front lawn in Hiram when something solid struck her in the head, just above her right eye.

Her son, Mark Hendricks, who was helping his 76-year-old mother with yard work Sunday morning, rushed to her aid when she cried for help. He called 911.

As it turned out, the object that struck Dorrity in the head was a bullet from a .358-caliber Winchester rifle that a young man was using for target practice at a sand pit across the street from Dorrity’s home on Pilgrim Drive.

The man was cited by Maine State Police on a charge of reckless conduct. Meanwhile, Dorrity was recovering at home Sunday night.

The bullet, which bounced off her head before striking the windshield of her car, left her with an ugly bruise on her forehead, a bloodshot eye and a headache.

Dorrity was checked out by Sacopee Rescue, but declined to be taken to a hospital.

“I heard a loud bang, and then it felt like someone whacked me on the head really hard,” Dorrity said. “But I’m fine now.”

Trooper Corey A. Huckins said Dorrity was lucky not to have been killed.

“Another inch to the left and this would have been a much more tragic outcome,” Huckins said.

Huckins said 20-year-old Sean McNulty of Parsonsfield was target shooting Sunday morning in a sand pit at the corner of South Hiram Road and New Settlement Road in the Oxford County town of Hiram.

McNulty had set up a gallon milk jug filled with water on the bank of the sand pit.

He was about 120 feet from the jug when he fired one round from his rifle. The bullet struck the jug, causing it to explode.

What he didn’t count on was that the bullet ricocheted and continued another 350 feet before striking Dorrity in the head.

Huckins said McNulty stopped firing after he heard people shouting, but was unaware that he had hit anyone.

After striking Dorrity, the bullet cracked the windshield of her 2008 Hyundai Accent, which had been parked in the driveway.

“She is feeling more concerned about the chip in her car windshield than she is about her head. That car is her pride and joy,” said Dorrity’s daughter, Terri Charles of Cornish.

Charles came as quickly as she could after her daughter called to say she heard a police scanner report of someone being shot at 49 Pilgrim Drive — Dorrity’s home address.

“A centimeter either way and the guys on the rescue said the outcome could have been really bad,” she said.

Huckins said McNulty was issued a summons to appear in Bridgton District Court in December on the charge of reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.

Huckins said the sand pit has been used by community members for target practice for years.

The bullet, which landed in Dorrity’s driveway, was taken by police as evidence.

“You couldn’t make up a story like this and have it believable,” Charles said. “It’s too freaky for words.”

As for Dorrity, she wants McNulty to know that she doesn’t blame him for what happened.

“I feel blessed — it could have been a lot worse,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]