URBANA — Two Champaign men arrested after an incident on Interstate 74 Wednesday that allegedly involved gunfire have been criminally charged with weapons and drug violations.
Philemon Dukes, 17, of the 1400 block of Mittendorf Drive, and Chainze Tucker, 24, of the 300 block of East Church Street, were charged Friday in Champaign County Circuit Court with armed violence and possession with intent to deliver cannabis.
The charges stem from an incident that reportedly started in Danville late Wednesday afternoon and concluded when they were arrested after crashing the sport utility vehicle they were in about 5:30 p.m. in east Urbana.
Information given to Judge Richard Klaus in court Friday was that Dukes and Tucker reportedly met a man and woman in Danville who wanted to purchase a vehicle from them. The man got in the vehicle with them and reported that Dukes pulled out a gun and fired it inside the vehicle. The man then got out and Tucker and Dukes took off.
The man and women followed the pair in a different vehicle on Interstate 74 while talking to METCAD at the same time.
The man and the woman reported that while they were on the interstate, Dukes allegedly fired a gun at them and pitched it out of his vehicle.
Both vehicles got off I-74 and Tucker, who was driving the SUV, then crashed into a utility pole near University Avenue and Guardian Drive. He and Dukes then got out and allegedly ran.
The man who had been following them said he saw another person who reportedly set up the car deal and followed that person on I-74. Police stopped the man and woman in Mahomet and took them in for questioning. They have not been charged.
Police found Tucker and Dukes not long after the vehicle crash at the Urbana Champaign Friends Meeting house in the 1900 block of East Main Street in Urbana.
Tucker declined to speak with police while Dukes reportedly told them that the transaction in Danville involved drugs. Dukes told police that the man who got in the SUV with them is the one who reportedly pulled a gun and that Tucker and the man struggled over the gun, which fired inside the SUV. Dukes said Tucker then pushed the man out and ordered him to get a gun.
Dukes said that he and Tucker then took off, with the man and woman following them. Dukes told police the other man fired at them first from their car and that he returned fire and threw the gun he had out of the SUV.
Police recovered a handgun.
Outside the SUV where it crashed, police also found a bag containing about 4 1/2 ounces of cannabis.
According to court records, Dukes is currently out on bond for armed violence and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was charged with allegedly having a loaded weapon and cannabis in a car in downtown Urbana on April 28.
Klaus ordered Dukes to be held on $1 million bond and to be back in court Tuesday. If convicted of both crimes, he would have to serve the sentences one after the other.
Klaus also set Tucker's bond at $1 million and told him to be back in court with his own attorney on Sept. 27.