‘I’m still here’: Road rage survivor shot in head recounts attack

Heather Stevanus' life was forever changed when she was shot in the head during a road rage incident. She still has a long road to recovery but is thankful to be alive. (Source: WHNS)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 8:08 PM HST
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TOCCOA, Ga. (WHNS/Gray News) - A Georgia mother of two says she’s thankful to still be alive after she was shot in the head during a road rage incident that initially left half of her body paralyzed.

Heather Stevanus said the night of Jan. 8 changed her life forever. She, her husband and their two young children were driving back home to Toccoa, Georgia, from Greenville, South Carolina, after Monster Jam, a monster truck rally.

While on I-85, someone fired shots into their car during a road rage incident, hitting Heather Stevanus in the head.

The mother told WHNS that most of that night is a blur, but she remembers hearing her husband’s voice, telling her to hold on.

“I feel good. I know it could have been a lot worse,” she said. “I just think God has a plan for my story and our story, and it’s just by the grace of God that I’m still here.”

Heather Stevanus spent months in the hospital following the shooting until she was officially released March 8. She’s lost feeling in her feet and motor function in her left hand, and she struggles with memory loss and speech. She will continue physical therapy at home and later join an outpatient rehab facility.

Although there is still a long road to recovery ahead, Heather Stevanus is thankful to be alive. The person who shot her has never been identified.

“I told him [Branden] when I was still in rehab and I realized how long it would take me to get back to work, I just wished that he would be caught and I could have the opportunity to tell him how much he took away from me,” she said. “I just wish he could know. It was over in a minute for him, but it’s not that way for us.”

Investigators believe the suspect vehicle is a black or navy BMW SUV X-5 or X-6, with the model year being around 2017. Investigators said they also believe the SUV was occupied by a man who was heading toward Georgia after the shooting occurred.

If you have any information regarding this shooting, contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.