Trucker “Fortunate” to Escape Uninjured After Motorist With AR-15 Opened Fire, Police Say
Modesto, CA – A 25-year-old trucker escaped injury on Wednesday when a motorist opened fire on him while in a construction zone along a California highway.
According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the shooting occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. on northbound Highway 99 just north of Pelandale Avenue in Modesto.
Investigators said that a motorist in a white GMC SUV was in the fast lane when it drove by a 2020 Kenworth tractor-trailer and fired on the rig with what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle.
One round struck the driver’s side door of the semi-truck.
CHP said the force from the impact caused the window to shatter.
CHP Modesto office spokesman Officer Thomas Olsen said the trucker, who was only identified as a man from Livingston, CA, was “very fortunate” he was not struck.
The truck driver was thankfully able to safely pull over and call 9-1-1.
The alleged shooter then proceeded to get off the freeway and was later seen driving west toward San Joaquin County.
While driving, CHP said the alleged shooter in the SUV brandished his firearm two more times toward other motorists.
Multiple motorists reported the incidents and provided the assailants license plate number to authorities.
A few hours later, officers with the Delta Regional Auto Theft Team located the GMC SUV at a gas station on South Wilson Way in Stockton.
Police arrested the alleged shooter, identified as Derrick Terrell Thomas, 25, of Stockton, CA without further incident at 2:40 p.m.
According to a CHP news release Thomas is a prior felon.
Authorities also later searched his home and found a black AR-15 rifle consistent to the weapon described by the victims.
None of the victims, including the truck driver, claimed to know Thomas.
As for Thomas, he is now facing charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing a firearm.
An additional charge of brandishing is expected to be filed with the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, CHP informed.
Thomas is being held at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on $700,000 bail.
Photo courtesy KGET