Chicago area expressway shootings have more than doubled since this time last year. On Thursday, CBS 2’s Tara Molina was again asking the state why a multimillion-dollar camera system to keep us all safe is still not up and running.
- Right now, at this Hour 18, Illinois State Police investigating yet another reported shooting on the Dan Ryan Expressway. A truck driver says he was shot at in the middle of the day.
- It's the second shooting on the Dan Ryan in less than 24 hours. And tonight, we've learned Chicago Area Expressway shootings have more than doubled compared to this time last year. Our Tara Molina is always investigating, joins us live. Tara, you've been digging into this, and again, asking why the state and why a multimillion-dollar camera system to keep us all safe is still not up and running.
TARA MOLINA: Brad and Erica, those cameras still aren't up and running even though they could be helping police investigate some of the 90 shootings on Cook County's expressways just this year. Two on this stretch of the Dan Ryan in the past two weeks.
- 33rd of the Dan Ryan outbound express lane, by White Sox Park.
TARA MOLINA: Chopper video of the shooting scene Wednesday night just before 8:00. It's the 26th shooting on the Dan Ryan this year.
- So they were shot-- Just shot in the head in a red Jaguar.
TARA MOLINA: Shot in the head, we know the driver of that red Jaguar suffered serious injuries, their passenger rushed to the hospital too.
- Say there was a gun thrown out on the Dan Ryan over by the inbound.
TARA MOLINA: According to Illinois State Police, the shots were fired from an unknown vehicle. With no shooter in custody, they're asking for the public's help investigating, an investigation added to a long list of others-- with 90 expressway shootings in Cook County this year alone compared to 39 during the same time frame last year, when there were a total of 128 shootings. 41 of the 90 shootings this year resulted in injuries. Eight people died, 59 total shot.
How many of their shooters have been tracked down and charged? Three cases involve charges right now, according to Illinois State Police. Three. Would cameras help in those investigations? State police have said so. But for years now, CBS Chicago has tracked the delayed installation and upgrades of the cameras rolling on Illinois' expressways.
The 600 cameras up now still can't record video. Back in February, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced a $12.5 million investment of taxpayer dollars for cameras and license plate readers that will go up in 47 different locations specifically meant to help investigate expressway shootings. So where is that technology now? IDoT told us to ask Illinois State Police, who told us they're still in the planning phase.
You can find more of our year's worth of reporting on these cameras and their delays at the state level in this story on our website right now. Now of course, we asked IDoT about driver safety concerns with these shootings on the rise. A spokesperson responded with a statement, telling me they're working closely with law enforcement to make our roads safer. Erica.
- Actually, Brad. I'll take it here, Tara. Planning face. Remarkable, considering we've been covering this for years. Governor JB Pritzker has spoken out on preventing expressway shootings in the past. What does he have to say about the delays in getting the cameras up and running?
TARA MOLINA: Brad, sorry about that. Thanks for the great question. We actually put a request into the Governor's office today. And then CBS 2's Dana Kozlov, in that one-on-one she had with the Governor, was able to ask him that question. He says that state agencies are working closely together to get those cameras up sometime soon. But unfortunately, no specific response from the Governor today.
- Another agency saying, "in the planning phases." Our Tara Molina. Thank you.