OOIDA member's rig among those struck by bullets on I-70 near St. Louis

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, March 26, 2015

A man is in police custody after allegedly shooting at random vehicles on Interstate 70 near St. Louis, Mo., on Wednesday, March 25. Two people were injured as bullets hit at least five vehicles, including two tractor-trailers. 

OOIDA Senior Member Linda Howard of Lexington, Mo., told Land Line on Thursday, March 26, that she was headed eastbound on I-70 near mile marker 197.2 around 6 p.m. on Wednesday when she saw a white car in her side mirror that was moving at a high rate of speed.

Howard, a 20-year trucking veteran, said traffic ahead of her was slowing down. While she planned on moving over to the fast lane to get around the slow-moving vehicles, she decided to let the white car pass her first.

“I thought I am not going to pull out in front of him. I will just let him go ahead and get in front of me, and then I will just pull in behind him,” she said.

A few seconds later, Howard said she heard a “pop, then a second pop,” which shattered her driver’s side window. She said that’s when she realized the driver of the white car was shooting at her.

“So then I saw him hit his brakes like he was going to shoot at me a third time. So I tapped my brakes a little bit to back out of it, and then he went on, and he shot the truck in front of me,” she said.

Howard said she also witnessed the driver shoot and hit a second vehicle in front of her, too.

“I was at the 197.2 mile marker and I called the cops, plus I got on the CB to warn other drivers,” she said. “I was talking on my CB and (to) the 911 operator at the same time.”

Howard said she tried to follow the driver “to see where he was going,” but lost sight of the white car after the driver passed another truck up ahead on her on the shoulder.

She said it didn’t really sink in as to what had just happened to her until she stopped at a scale house outside St. Louis and examined the damage to her truck.

“I was just sitting there looking at the bullet holes in my muffler, thinking if he had shot 12 more inches (over) he would have shot me in the head,” she said. “And when he shot back at me (the bullet) came through my door and hit my window railing that holds your window up. That was the only thing that stopped the bullet from coming through my door and possibly hitting me in either the gut or the chest.”

The suspect led law enforcement on a high-speed chase through three counties before being taken into police custody. Besides firing shots at vehicles along I-70, the suspect allegedly also fired shots at police officers and rammed into a St. Ann, Mo., police car before crashing his Dodge Charger into a concrete median near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the suspect, 22, from the Kansas City area told authorities he had “snapped because of a girlfriend.” As of press time on Thursday, the name of the suspect has not been released.

In the meantime, the company Howard is leased to, Debrick Truck Line in Paola, Kan., has put her up in a hotel room for a few days until repairs to her muffler and window have been made.

She admits that while she is still a little shaken up, she plans to hop back in her truck and head toward Virginia early Saturday morning.

“I guess I will just get back in the saddle and keep trucking,” she said.

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