UPDATE: Prosecutor says trucker used slingshot to shatter windows on I-74

UPDATE: Prosecutor says trucker used slingshot to shatter windows on I-74

UPDATE, 10:45 a.m. Sunday, June 3:

URBANA — A Wisconsin truck driver used a slingshot and metal ball bearings to break out the windows of vehicles as he drove past them on Interstate 74, according to Champaign County’s top prosecutor.

In details laid out in bond court Sunday for Judge Roger Webber, State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said Kevin Lee Casey, 53, of Janesville, Wis., was arrested Friday night after Illinois State Police investigators caught him in the act of using a slingshot to shatter the window on the driver’s-side sliding door of a minivan headed east on I-74 between Neil Street and Prospect Avenue shortly after 7 p.m.

Police had been watching him and were preparing to serve a search warrant on his rig when the vandalism happened.

Webber set Casey's bond at $2 million.

Questioned at the Champaign police department, Casey admitted shooting at vehicles with a slingshot and ball bearings while driving his semitrailer.

A court-authorized search of Casey’s truck turned up a slingshot, several different sizes of metal ball bearings and materials used to make slingshots.

The Friday-night incident was the latest in a string of vandalisms that began in late March, occurring in at least four East Central Illinois counties.

"Since the initial reports on March 30, Zone 5 Investigations received multiple reports of incidents of damage to vehicles throughout multiple counties to include Vermilion, Champaign, Piatt and DeWitt," Rietz said. "By comparing the reported incidents, a pattern was formed.

"A majority of the incidents occurred on Wednesdays and Fridays. Victims reported their vehicles were damaged while traveling westbound on I-74 for a majority of the Wednesday incidents. For the incidents occurring on Fridays, the majority were traveling eastbound when their vehicle was damaged. The majority were driving minivans."

Rietz laid out the details of four incidents for Webber but acknowledged there were more.

“Those specific incidents I cited are the only reports police have given me,” Rietz said.

Most, she said, happened between mileposts 180 (between the I-57 interchange and Prospect Avenue exit in west Champaign) and 185 (the University Avenue/Illinois 130 exit in east Urbana) in Champaign County.

Evidence police collected to narrow their search included reports from victims of seeing a white semi near them at the time of having windows shot out and "camera footage from ISP, IDOT, and local business cameras," Rietz told the judge.

From video, police obtained a license-plate number and learned that the semi is registered to Casey.

"He is the owner and sole driver of that truck," Rietz said.

She said police learned that Casey regularly travels I-74 as part of his route.

With the help of the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office, police also obtained a search warrant for Casey's phone records, Rietz said.

After hearing that information and about's Casey's Wisconsin convictions for sexual assault of a child in 1998 and domestic battery in 1994, Webber set the high bond.

Rietz said she will file formal charges Monday that will include criminal damage to property, aggravated battery in a public place and aggravated battery to a child based on a May 8 window shattering on I-74 where a 3-year-old Monticello boy was cut and had glass embedded in his face.

* * * * *

Original story, published 1:41 p.m. Saturday, June 2:

URBANA — A southern Wisconsin man is in jail, suspected in a string of window shatterings on a central Illinois interstate over the last several months that injured a toddler and an Urbana woman and scared motorists.

Illinois State Police at Pesotum issued a brief press release Saturday afternoon saying that Kevin Lee Casey, 53, of Janesville was arrested Friday on preliminary charges of aggravated battery to a child, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property in connection with multiple shootings of vehicle windows that happened in Champaign, Vermilion and other counties that I-74 runs through, including "numerous states to the east" of Illinois.

Police have released no details of where Casey was arrested or how they developed him as a suspect. Casey was booked in to the Champaign County Jail at 11:49 p.m. Friday. He is expected to be formally charged in Champaign County Circuit Court on Monday; state police Capt. Louis Kink, commander of District 10 at Pesotum, plans a news conference the same day.

Although the reports started in District 10 around mid-March, the window shatterings were not made public until several weeks later when a Monticello woman took to Facebook to share that her 3-year-old son was cut by flying shards of glass about 5 p.m. May 2 when their minivan window shattered on the highway somewhere between the Neil Street and Prospect Avenue exits.

Her post prompted many others to come forward.

State police have declined to say how many window-shattering and injury reports they have taken or to release any details of what they thought was happening.

Three weeks ago, Kink said they had received many calls and were trying to sort out those that may have been intentional vandalism from those caused by pieces of debris hitting windows.

As recently as Thursday, police put out a brief release that said they were taking the reports very seriously and continuing to investigate.

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz said she had not yet received reports from troopers to determine specific charges.

However, Casey will undoubtedly face at least a Class 3 felony charge of aggravated battery for those victims who were injured while on a public way. Penalties for that range from probation to two to five years in prison.

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