SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — An Auburn man is facing several charges, including murder, for his suspected role in a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 55 last week. Illinois State Troopers believe the crash was an attempted suicide, possibly to avoid sentencing on charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Shane Woods, 44, was indicted on the following six counts by a Sangamon County grand jury on Wednesday:
- One count of first degree murder
- Two counts of aggravated driving under the influence
- Two counts of aggravated driving under the influence involving death
- One count of aggravated fleeing and eluding a peace officer
Earlier this year, Woods pleaded guilty in federal court to two charges of assault that happened on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Woods admitted to attacking a police officer and a member of the press during the event and was on release, awaiting sentencing for these actions, at the time of the Nov. 8 crash.
A booking statement by the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office, submitted as evidence in the court case, showed that an Illinois State Trooper was advised that Woods had been pulled over in Divernon the night of the crash. The officer conducting the traffic stop said he smelled alcohol on Woods’ person and that Woods made comments about committing suicide before fleeing.
The trooper was told that Woods’ pickup truck got onto I-55 using an exit ramp and started driving the wrong way. After a short distance, the truck hit two cars while a semi-truck was damaged when it drove through the debris.
The driver and sole occupant of one of the cars hit was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The coroner identified her as Lauren Wegner, 35 of Clayton, N.C. The other car contained a senior couple from Granite City; although seriously hurt, they are expected to be ok.
Woods’ blood-alcohol limit, taken through the normal course of treatment at the hospital, was determined to be .177, more than twice the legal limit. The trooper listed in the booking document also said he overheard Woods tell a family member he intended to crash into a semi-truck.
Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said in further court records that, based on the evidence indicating Woods’ intent to crash and his knowledge that such actions could result in death to another person, he was charged with first degree murder as opposed to reckless homicide.
Woods was booked into the Sangamon Couty Jail after his release from the hospital on Nov. 11. He is being held on a $2 million bond, but Wright is petitioning for bail to be denied, citing the threat Woods poses to himself and others.
“Under the circumstances of the offenses charged herein and the federal offenses for which the defendant is pending sentencing, the defendant poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of himself and all persons he may encounter if released prior to trial,” Wright said in his petition. “As a consequence of the foregoing, there is no condition or combination of pre-trial release conditions that can sufficiently mitigate the real and present threat posed by the defendant.”
Woods faced up to nine years in prison for his actions on Jan. 6 and was set to be sentenced on Jan. 23, 2023.