Getaway driver in armed robbery sentenced to prison

URBANA— A Champaign man who drove the getaway car for a man who robbed a Savoy fast-food restaurant has been sentenced to prison.

On Monday, Judge Thomas J. Difanis sentenced Tawan Williamson, 18, of the 500 block of North Edwin Street, Champaign, to 7½ years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of felony armed robbery.

Williamson will receive credit for 263 days already served in jail.

In August, Devin McClendon, whose last known address was in the 400 block of East Beardsley Avenue, Champaign, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to armed robbery for taking cash from the Sonic Drive-In, 101 Calvin St., Savoy, on July 3, 2013.

Champaign County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Weber said that about 12:30 a.m. that day, the business was closing when a man came to the door. When the employee opened it to tell him the business was closed, the gunman, later identified as McClendon, forced his way in and put the gun to the head of an employee.

McClendon made off with about $1,400 cash in a plastic bag that he had supplied and left in a car driven by Williamson.

Champaign County sheriff’s investigators soon learned that an employee there, Natasha Duvall, of the 1600 block of West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, had received a call from her boyfriend, Sherman Bragg, of the same address, alerting her that the restaurant would be robbed and she should cooperate in giving the money to the robber. Investigators said she is the one who filled the bag with the cash.

Duvall later pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Bragg is due back in court on Friday.

Weber said that through Duvall and Bragg, sheriff’s investigators developed McClendon and Williamson as participants. An employee identified McClendon in a photo lineup as the robber.

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