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Illinois State Police To Saturate Patrols In Wake Of Chicago Area Expressway Shootings; Data Show Very Few Arrests Are Made In Such Cases

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Overnight, three expressway shootings were reported in Northern Illinois over a period of four hours – two of them within the Chicago city limits.

This all comes after two men were also killed earlier this week on the Stevenson Expressway.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Illinois State Police said they have a plan. They are going to more than double their patrols.

State Police said the additional patrols will begin Friday night. It is going to be a 157 percent increase - though for security reasons, state police would not provide an exact number of patrols that represents.

We have tracked spiking violence on our roadways for months at CBS 2, but on we have now obtained new information on how many of those behind that violence are getting away with it. As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, it is not often that the shooters are caught.

In point of fact, the number of people actually identified and then arrested in expressway shootings is in the single digits.

We have tracked 185 shootings on Chicago area expressways just this year as of 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Last year, there were 128, and in 2019, there were 52.

So with 92 days left in 2021, we are not only looking at record violence, but also at roadways that saw shootings almost every other day of the year.

A total of 16 people have also been killed in those expressway shootings this year. Two men were killed this week – a driver and a passenger – were killed in a double shooting on the Stevenson Expressway late Tuesday near Wentworth Avenue and Chinatown.

Meanwhile, 85 people have been hurt in shootings on our expressways this year.

That figure included a man who was shot and seriously injured on the Eisenhower Expressway near Kedzie Avenue on the city's West Side just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Chicago Police joined Illinois State Police in a search of the road and found shell casings.

The man injured in that shooting was 55 years old and from Downers Grove, and was driving the car that was hit by the shots. His injuries were serious, but not life-threatening.

His passenger, a 22-year-old man from Woodridge, was not injured.

Hours later, shots were fired on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway near the Belvidere Oasis northwest of the Chicago area. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

But minutes after the second shooting, around 1:26 a.m. Thursday morning, there was a third shooting. Shots were fired on the Bishop Ford Freeway near 130th Street – a car was hit, but no one was hurt.

And while Illinois State Police investigated the three shootings overnight and the fatal shooting Tuesday, we know the spike in shootings is not mirrored with a spike in arrests.

Of the 185 shootings this year, only nine people – nine shooters – have been arrested and charged.

Molina's interview request was denied, so we couldn't ask the ISP to address that low number in person. But the ISP did issue a statement, which read in part that there are now "specialty teams specifically dedicated to the mission of stopping and combating the violence on our expressways," with ISP "saturating the expressways in order to keep the public safe."

"For more than 30 years, patrol of Chicago area expressways has been a unique duty of this agency and in that time, we have not previously confronted the concentrated levels of gun violence we have faced in 2020 and 2021," ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said in a news release. "We are a statewide agency with statewide missions and responsibilities, but we must dedicate the greatest resources to the greatest need, and right now the greatest need is here, on Chicago's expressways."

The ISP reported that as part of the Safe Drive Detail, state police will reallocate officers from around the state to District Chicago to prevent roadway violence.

We've heard about saturation from ISP before. Last month, a trooper was on the Dan Ryan Expressway and nearby when shots were fired and was able to respond right away.

Meanwhile last month, we also heard about plans to install 200 license plate cameras to help state police investigate expressway shootings. There was no update from the ISP on when those cameras would be up and running, but we know those cameras are being installed over the next year - made possible through a $12.5 million grant.

This is a breakdown of where shootings have happened on Chicago area expressways:

2021 Cook County Expressway Shootings Listed By Expressway Location (09/30/21- 7:30 a.m.)

I-90/94 (Dan Ryan):




I-94 (Bishop Ford):




I-55 (Stevenson):


I90/94 (Kennedy):




I-94 (Edens):






This is a series of questions that Molina asked the ISP, and the ISP's answers:

Q: How many shootings have resulted in a fatality? How many shootings have resulted in an injury?

A: In 2021 – There have been a total of 85 reported expressway shootings that involved injuries and there have been a total of 16 reported expressway shootings that involved fatalities. The total number of injuries including fatalities is 119; 102 people injured and 17 fatalities.

Q: How many shooters have been identified in the 2021 shootings? How many have been charged in connection the 2021 shootings?

A: Currently in 2021 there have been 9 arrested and charged related to expressway shootings during 2021.

Q: Can you provide information on how the number/location of troopers dispatched has changed, due to the shootings?

A: Currently, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Major Crimes unit investigates most reported expressway shootings. The ISP Division of Patrol (DOP) has multiple ongoing initiatives to combat the violence on our expressways and specialty teams specifically dedicated to the mission of stopping and combating the violence on our expressways by saturating the expressways in order to keep the public safe. The ISP continues to proactively patrol and saturate the Chicagoland expressways with the goal of ensuring public safety.

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