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URBANA — Two Champaign teens have been arrested in the alleged murder of a ride-hailing driver Wednesday night in Urbana.

Urbana police Lt. Dave Smysor said the victim was discovered at 6:23 p.m. unresponsive in the street on South Vine Street at Burkwood Court, just south of Florida Avenue, and was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup identified him as Kristian D. Philpotts, 29, of Chicago, and said he was pronounced dead at 6:52 p.m. of a single gunshot wound to the back. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Mr. Philpotts' vehicle was found just a few blocks north of where he was at Vine and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Urbana and Champaign detectives worked together to locate the two suspects at an undisclosed location in Champaign. The teens are 16 and 17, and initial police investigation suggests they intended to rob the driver.

They were taken to the Juvenile Detention Center and are likely to appear in court Friday.

Anyone with information on this homicide is asked to contact Urbana police at 217-384-2320 or, if wishing to remain anonymous, Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477 or or via the free "P3 Tips" mobile app.

The death is Champaign-Urbana's first fatal shooting of the new year and comes on the heels of the deadliest year in memory in both cities. Urbana had 10 homicides last year, all by gunfire.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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