CHICAGO (AP) — A central Illinois man who pleaded guilty to felony charges for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S Capitol was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in the death of a woman killed in a wrong-way car collision on Nov. 8, Sangamon County officials said.
According to the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s office, Shane Jason Woods of Auburn was driving north in the southbound lanes on Interstate 55 in Springfield when his pickup truck slammed into a car driven by 35-year-old Lauren Wegner of Skokie, a village north of Chicago. Wegner died from injuries suffered in the crash, according to the county coroner’s office.
Three other vehicles were hit and two occupants sustained “great bodily harm,” the county sheriff's office said.
Woods has been indicted on felony counts of first-degree murder, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and aggravated fleeing and eluding a peace officer and is being held in Sangamon County Jail, according to a press release from the county's state's attorney's office. Woods' bond is set at $2 million, but the county filed a petition to deny bail.
“The evidence will show the Defendant made numerous statements before and after the fatal collision on Interstate 55 which establish his intent to enter upon the highway for the purpose of striking another vehicle,” the petition said.
In a press conference Wednesday, Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said prior to the crash, Woods was pulled over by Divernon police for speeding, then fled the traffic stop. A report from the sheriff's office said Woods “made statements about committing suicide to the Divernon Police Officer,” and that his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit — 0.177.
Divernon police did not respond to request for comment.
Woods was hospitalized after the crash and booked into jail when he was released on Nov. 11. The sheriff's report added that the responding officer overheard Woods telling family in the hospital that “he had intended on crashing his vehicle into a truck tractor semi-trailer.”
Woods faces 20 to 60 years in prison if he is convicted of first-degree murder, Wright said.
Wegner's driver's license showed a Clayton, North Carolina address, according to the coroner's office. However, an obituary said she was from Skokie and her funeral is on Sunday.
It was not immediately clear who is representing Woods in the case. Dwight Crawley, Woods' defense attorney for the U.S. Capitol riot case, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Woods pleaded guilty in September to felony charges for assaulting a law enforcement officer and a member of the news media during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, federal prosecutors said. He is one of hundreds of Americans charged for crimes during the insurrection.
During the siege, Woods rammed his shoulder into a U.S. Capitol Police officer, knocking her into a bicycle barricade, and tackled a member of the media, according to court documents. His sentencing is scheduled for January 13, 2023.
The charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding a law enforcement officer carries a statutory maximum sentence of eight years in prison. The federal assault charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year.
Woods is among more than 30 Illinois residents charged in the Capitol riot.
Savage is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.