Highway shootings hit the heartland

| 10/18/2002

As the nation's attention has been drawn to sniper attacks in the Washington, DC, suburbs, gun-related incidents occurred earlier this week on two Midwest highways.

A car and truck were hit by gunfire Tuesday evening on I-71 north of Columbus, OH, WEWS reported. A bullet came very close to striking motorist Jeff Van Loon. He was driving northbound near milepost 152 when his passenger-side window shattered.

"I thought a rock hit it or a deer hit the door," Loon told the news station. "Then I saw a bullet 3 inches above the door handle."

Loon wasn't the only victim. A 2000 Freightliner in front of him also had the passenger-side window shot out, but nobody was hurt.

On Wednesday morning, a motorist was shot and killed on I-55 in St. Louis by a gunman who allegedly drove alongside the victim's car and fired multiple shots. Police said the rush hour "hit" was apparent retaliation for another murder.

A trucker reportedly suffered a grazing wound on his chin while another trucker may have been grazed on his forehead by bullets fired in the incident. Two other vehicles also were struck by bullets. None of the drivers were taken to a hospital.

The victim's and shooter's cars reportedly were driving southbound alongside each other. The wounded truckers and two other vehicles were all heading northbound.

After the shooting, all southbound lanes of I-55 were closed for about two hours and northbound traffic was restricted to two lanes.