LATEST: 6:03 pm, 2/9/17, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — A Tennessee man pleaded not guilty to shooting a moving car on I-57. 21-year old Patrick Chapman faces aggravated gun charges.
Thursday in court, a public defender said Chapman has no prior criminal history. He’s accused of shooting at a car three times Tuesday night and grazing a woman’s clothing with one of those bullets.
Authorities say the victim was driving near Rantoul. She was in the left lane, behind the Dodge Durango which Chapman was in, which was behind a slow-moving semi truck.
“Victim pulled into the right lane and began to pass,” said prosecutor Jilmala Rogers. “As victim pulled along the Dodge, it began to move into the right lane almost striking victim’s car. Victim used the horn and sped up to avoid a collision.”
Investigators say they found a .45 caliber Glock with a 30-round magazine near the vehicle after it was stopped. Squad car video appears to show the gun being thrown from the car.
Five other adults and a 2-month old were in the Durango with Chapman. Authorities say that baby is Chapman’s child.
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — A man from Tennessee was arrested after authorities say he shot at a car driving on I-57. Investigators say 21-year old Patrick Chapman shot the driver, but she’s going to be okay.
They say it sounds like road rage. State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says Chapman was a back seat passenger. The car he was in, which was a Durango, was changing lanes, but the other car was in the Durango’s blind spot and they had to swerve to avoid a crash. Authorities say Chapman shot the other car as a response to that.
Driving on any day can be a stressful, and bad weather doesn’t help. But people say there’s no excuse for road rage.
“I think it’s incredibly irresponsible and unsafe and it makes me feel uncomfortable,” said Marco Nieto, of Joliet. “I know personally, some people who have died because of accidents from road rage, so it affects me pretty deeply, personally.”
Tuesday night, authorities say Chapman was upset after the car he was riding in had to swerve to avoid crashing into another car. They say he shot at the car multiple times while driving on I-57 south, near Rantoul.
“It makes you wonder what makes somebody go to that level for an event that occurred like that,” said Champaign County Sheriff Chief Deputy Allen Jones.
Jones says people used to learn about defensive driving, but more aggressive, offensive driving is becoming more common. He says it’s something drivers can work on: being a little more patient.
“Sometimes, I’m the one who made the mistake,” said Jones. “I’m the one who didn’t look over my shoulder and check my blind spot or something, so it’s a frustration we all as humans deal with.”
Jones says violence like what happened Tuesday night is pretty unusual around here, but regardless of what level it gets to, he says people should try to share the road.
Chapman is expected in court Thursday to face aggravated gun charges. Authorities say the car he was in had six adults and a 2-month old infant.
Rietz says Chapman told police his girlfriend and young child were in the car with him and he was concerned about their safety.
Original: 9:07 am, 2/8/7, Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY — Police are investigating a call of shots fired while driving on I-57.
It happened in the southbound lanes of I-57 Tuesday night. Troopers say right before 9 pm, someone in a moving car began firing a gun.
At least one vehicle was hit. Police caught up with the suspect car near the I-74 interchange.
One person is in custody for the crime. Authorities are still investigating.