Car chase leads to arrest of man, discovery of AR-15 with increased bullet capacity

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RANTOUL TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WCIA) — What Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies thought might be a routine traffic stop for speeding at midnight Friday turned violent, according to a release from the Office.

Deputies on routine patrol saw a vehicle speeding southbound on Rt. 45 at approximately 2500 N, near Thomasboro. Officers began to follow the vehicle, anticipating a traffic stop, when multiple shots were fired at their vehicle.

Deputies turned on their emergency lights, but the suspect they were following didn’t stop the vehicle.

Police chased the car south on Rt. 45, west to I-74, and north on Prospect Avenue before the driver, 27-year-old Lawrence Paul Lewis, crashed the vehicle at the intersection of Olympian and Boardwalk drives in Champaign.

Lewis, who is from Champaign, attempted to run from police, but was caught and arrested. He was charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Attempted Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm at a Peace Officer, and Resisting/Obstructing a Peace Officer.

He is expected to be in arraignment court this afternoon.

During a search of the vehicle, deputies recovered an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun. Also found inside the vehicle was a bullet “drum magazine” that significantly increases the bullet capacity for a firearm (can generally hold 50-100 bullets). An additional handgun was located just outside of the vehicle.

The deputies were not hit by the gunfire and it is not believed that the gunfire struck their patrol vehicle.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Urbana Police Department, Champaign Police Department, Rantoul Police Department and Illinois State Police during this event.

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