Police still searching for clues in shooting of trucker in Missouri

| 10/27/2004

Law-enforcement officials are still investigating the shooting of a trucker along Interstate 44 in Missouri. And although they are not ruling anything out, a spokesman for the investigation said, officers say no one knows at this point whether or not a sniper was involved.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, a woman driving a tractor-trailer – identified by media outlets as Amy Holder, 34, of Paris Crossing, IN – was headed west on I-44 near Bourbon, MO, about 75 miles west of St. Louis.

Something – medical personnel later determined it was a bullet – shattered the driver’s side window and hit her in the head as her husband, Travis, rested in the sleeper berth. A patrol spokesman said the bullet struck the vehicle – and Holder – just west of Bourbon on the interstate, between that town and Leasburg.

Amy Holder called 9-1-1, and the Bourbon Police Department responded. Luckily, her injuries were not serious, and she was released a short time later. However, police are taking the incident very seriously.

The Bourbon Police quickly asked the Highway Patrol to investigate the incident, and any possible connection to a series of incidents along the interstate in that area. Although numbers vary depending on who’s talking, some media reports say as many as nine vehicles have lost windows along the 10-mile stretch of I-44 near Bourbon in rural Crawford County since February, at least two of them tractor-trailers.

However, despite early media reports, Highway Patrol personnel say it is still uncertain whether this was an isolated incident – or not.

Sgt. Dan Crain, public information officer with Troop I of the Missouri Highway Patrol in Rolla, said patrol officials would not confirm at this point whether the shooting was connected to the other incidents. In fact, Crain said law-enforcement officers were not sure yet whether the shooting was accidental or intended.

“We’re doing what we can,” he said. “We’re fully involved with the investigation and trying to develop any new leads we can.

“There’s no information we have – other than there’s been several incidents in the same area – to say for sure that they are linked.”

Crain did confirm that several incidents have taken place over several months along that portion of I-44. However, he said they could have been caused by other factors such as rocks. He also could not say whether the number of windows broken was more than what would normally be expected from such causes as thrown objects, rocks or gravel.

“This is the only incident we have that we can determine that a projectile caused the damage and the injury to the driver,” Crain said. However, “any time you have several windows broken out in a specific area like that … whatever agency looks at it is going to look for any physical evidence to determine whether or not there was something say other than a rock that caused the damage.”

In addition to the Bourbon Police and the Highway Patrol, the investigation includes officers from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, the Cuba, MO, Police and the Sullivan, MO, Police. The Highway Patrol is heading the effort.

Anyone who has information about the shooting or saw something that day is encouraged to call Troop I of the Highway Patrol at (573) 368-2345.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor