A woman was shot and wounded Thursday as she traveled on Interstate 57 in Markham, according to Illinois State Police.
The woman was treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound she suffered about 2:05 a.m., Trooper Joshua Robinson said Thursday morning in an email. She had been traveling on I-57 near 155th Street when she was shot.
Robinson said he did not know the woman’s direction of travel or whether she was driving when she was shot or if anyone else was in the vehicle with her. The woman’s age and the make and model of her vehicle also were not provided.
All lanes of Interstate 57 were closed for investigation and traffic was diverted off at 159th Street, officials said. All lanes reopened at 6:15 a.m., according to Robinson.
The shooting was at least the 171st on a Cook County expressway so far in 2021, Robinson said. It was the 24th shooting this year on I-57, according to a detailed breakdown by Cook County roadways provided by state police spokeswoman Trooper Haylie Polistina.
Although some see it as an extension of the gun violence that has ravaged Chicago’s disinvested South and West sides for decades and note that surging numbers of the past two years have coincided with an overall spike in city shootings, the expressway attacks have increased far more rapidly.
Shootings throughout all of Chicago this year have risen by about 10% over last year, according to Chicago Police Department data, while expressway shootings during the first nine months of the year have increased more than 24% over the whole of last year.
Shootings on expressways have far exceeded those in all of 2020, when there were 128 such shootings, according to state police data. And in 2020 there had been more than twice the number of shootings than the 52 expressway shootings in 2019. There were 43 in 2018, data shows.
One program touted as a means of better detecting and deterring expressway shootings is the ongoing installation of high-resolution cameras and some 200 license plate readers. Installation work began in August and is expected to continue over the next year.
In a project announcement, Brendan Kelly, director of state police, called it an important step toward expanding force-multiplying technology, long needed to protect travelers on Chicago expressways.
“These cameras will be an increasingly important tool for the ISP to collect the evidence we need to detect and deter crime on our interstates,” Kelly wrote in a statement.
The project was funded with $12.5 million in state funds secured through the Tamara Clayton Expressway Act, named for a Chicago woman who was killed in 2019, also while traveling on Interstate 57.
Clayton’s sister, Alma Hill, has said Clayton specifically avoided traveling on the Dan Ryan Expressway because she was afraid she’d be shot. As of Thursday, there had been 52 shootings on the Dan Ryan, the most of any Chicago area highway, followed by 36 on the Eisenhower Expressway.
“Increasingly, we’ve seen shootings throughout the Chicagoland expressways, and I am glad that we will now have the access to technology that will aid in the investigation of expressway shootings,” state Sen. Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) was quoted as saying in the state police news release. “With these innovations, I hope many crimes are solved and (those responsible) brought to justice, so that the victims’ families may know peace.”