2 Charged in Shootings on Interstate 64
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Two people, including a 16-year-old boy, were charged yesterday in the shooting of five occupied vehicles on Interstate 64 in central Virginia on Thursday, a burst of gunfire that shut down the highway for six hours, closed schools in Albemarle County and evoked memories of the 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington area.
Slade Allen Woodson, 19, of Afton was arrested yesterday in a pre-dawn raid of a farm in Crozet, west of Charlottesville, police said.
Police later arrested the 16-year-old in Crozet, State Police Col. Steven Flaherty said. The boy's name was not released, but he and Woodson were charged with 10 felonies each, including two counts of malicious wounding for the injuries suffered by two of the drivers hit by glass or bullet fragments during the shooting.
Police said they have not determined what prompted the shootings.
After the vehicles were hit with gunfire, mostly from an overpass about 12 miles west of Charlottesville, more shootings occurred in Waynesboro, 10 miles west of the overpass. A key piece of evidence in that case, a surveillance video of a rare AMC Gremlin, apparently led police to Woodson.
While state and local police were gathering shell casings from the overpass on Greenwood Station Road, employees reporting for work Thursday morning at the DuPont Community Credit Union in Waynesboro found that their building and a van parked outside it had been hit by gunfire. Waynesboro police also said gunfire hit a home in the city about 1:30 a.m.
The credit union's surveillance camera showed a Gremlin, which was last produced in 1978, moving through the parking lot between midnight and 2 a.m., Waynesboro Sgt. Kelly Walker said. Police began searching for a Gremlin with a racing stripe, and a 1974 model was found on Route 29 in northern Albemarle County, near the Greene County border, on Thursday afternoon.
The abandoned Gremlin belonged to Woodson, Flaherty said, and it contained "ballistic evidence." Late Thursday, Waynesboro police charged him with the two shootings in the city.
State and Albemarle police went to Yonder Hill Farm in Crozet at 4:48 a.m. yesterday and arrested Woodson, Flaherty said.
A man who allegedly held a handgun as police entered the property was shot by an Albemarle police officer. The man, whose name and age were not released, was in stable condition last night at the University of Virginia Medical Center, police said. Three other men were at the farm but were not arrested.
Initially, police did not charge Woodson with the I-64 shootings. In addition to the four cars hit from the Greenwood Station overpass, an occupied car on a ramp to I-64 from Dick Woods Road was also shot, but the driver was not hit. Police said an empty state transportation department dump truck was hit by gunfire near Yancey Mills.
While waiting for ballistics analysis on the shootings, Flaherty said at a news conference yesterday that "there was other evidence to support the charges." Police obtained 10 warrants each for Woodson and the 16-year-old: two counts of malicious wounding, two counts of use of a firearm in a felony, five counts of malicious shooting at occupied vehicles and one count of attempted malicious wounding.
Flaherty said Woodson was known to police. In January 2007, state court records show, Woodson was arrested in Albemarle on two felony counts of arson and two felony counts of grand larceny. One of the arson charges was reduced to a misdemeanor property destruction charge, and he was sentenced to six months in jail, court records show. The other charges were reduced or dismissed.
In September, Woodson was arrested in Waynesboro for drunken driving, but court records show the charge was dropped by prosecutors. In December, he was arrested in Waynesboro for buying alcohol while underage, for which he has a court date next month.
Woodson has a page at MySpace.com, on which he describes himself as "just a poor country boy tryin to survive" and a Ford truck lover. The page shows he last logged in Wednesday, the day before the shooting rampage.