BY CAROLYN P. SMITH
A carjacker was shot by a Belleville police officer early Wednesday after abducting a woman who was having car trouble.
The 23-year-old victim's cell phone may have saved her.
The victim, who was not identified, at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday was traveling east on Interstate 64 between Interstate 255 and Illinois 157. She started having engine trouble and pulled onto the shoulder, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Sue Culp said.
While on the shoulder a 26-year-old black male walked up to the passenger side of her vehicle, showed a handgun and demanded to be let in, Culp said.
"She was driving a car with a manual transmission in it. She was afraid if she tried to put it into gear, he'd shoot her," Culp said.
The suspect got into the car, pointed the gun at her, told her to drive and asked if she had any money. She exited at Illinois 157.
While driving into the BP gas station, her friend called her. She was able to answer the phone without putting it to her ear and her friend could hear the conversation in her car, Culp said.
The friend became concerned and called the Illinois State Police. Police also called the victim's cell phone, the victim again answered discreetly and allowed the conversation in the car to be heard over the phone, Culp said.
"Illinois State Police put out an (emergency) broadcast with the vehicle description. A Belleville police officer spotted the vehicle at the gas station. When the suspect saw the police, he jumped out of the car and fled on foot across Illinois 157," she said.
"The suspect fired at the police officer and he returned fire, striking him in the stomach," Culp said.
The suspect was taken to a Belleville hospital. His condition was not immediately available.
Neither the carjacking victim nor the officer were injured.
Police were not sure whether the suspect was waiting on the road or whether he was dropped off by another vehicle.
"The victim doesn't know where he came from," Culp said.
The victim was coming from a friend's house and was heading home. Police wouldn't identify the city in which the victim lived. The suspect is believed to be a Missouri resident.
Belleville News Democrat (http://www.belleville.com/)