Auburn man charged in Jan. 6 assault now in custody after fatal wrong-way I-55 crash

The Nov. 8 crash killed Lauren Wegner of Skokie. Police say Shane Woods traveled northbound in his GMC Sierra into the southbound lanes of I-55. His Sierra then crashed into Wegner’s Mercury Sable and a Toyota Corolla driven by a Granite City man.

SHARE Auburn man charged in Jan. 6 assault now in custody after fatal wrong-way I-55 crash
Shane Jason Woods

Shane Jason Woods

U.S. District Court records

A downstate man who assaulted a police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is being held in the Sangamon County Jail following a wrong-way crash last week on Interstate 55 that took the life of a 35-year-old woman, authorities say.

Shane Woods, 44, of Auburn, is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, according to Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright. Though he has not been formally charged, Woods was arrested by the Illinois State Police on the offenses of reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence and eluding police, Wright said.

Woods also goes by the name Shane Castleman.

Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said the Nov. 8 crash killed Lauren Wegner. Her family could not be reached for comment Monday. She lived in Skokie.

Woods’ latest arrest was first reported by The State Journal-Register.

Illinois State Police say four vehicles were involved in the crash that occurred just after 7:30 p.m. around mile marker 89. A 61-year-old man and 54-year-old woman, both from Granite City, were taken to a hospital to treat injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the State Police. Woods was also taken to a hospital. A 37-year-old Texas man reported no injuries.

“My office has been working closely with the Illinois State Police as their investigation continues, and we anticipate the filing of formal charges this week,” Wright said.

Dwight Crawley, the defense attorney who represents Woods in federal court, declined to comment when contacted by the Chicago Sun-Times. He filed a motion Monday to vacate Woods’ Jan. 13 sentencing hearing, noting his client was “incarcerated in Illinois.”

The State Police say Woods used the exit ramp at mile marker 88 to travel in his GMC Sierra northbound into the southbound lanes of I-55. His Sierra then crashed into Wegner’s Mercury Sable and a Toyota Corolla driven by the Granite City man, the police said.

A Freightliner truck-tractor semi-trailer, driven by the Texas man, immediately then drove through the scene and was damaged by the debris.

Wegner was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash apparently followed an encounter between Woods and an officer from the Divernon Police Department. Chief Jason Martin said one of his officers had been traveling at a normal speed northbound on I-55, where the speed limit is 70 mph, when Woods allegedly sped by traveling “at least” 15-20 mph faster.

Martin said the officer tried to stop Woods’ truck and followed it to the exit at mile marker 88. There, he said the vehicle stopped and his officer wound up having a roughly four-minute conversation with Woods. He said the officer returned to his car but eventually approached Woods’ truck a second time.

That time, Martin said Woods took off, even though the officer was “pleading with him not to leave the scene.”

“He was gone,” Martin said.

Woods pleaded guilty in September to committing assault on U.S. Capitol grounds and assaulting and resisting a federal officer during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol.

When he was initially charged by the feds in June 2021, authorities announced that he was the first person to be arrested for assaulting a member of the news media amid the riot.

Woods admitted that he lowered his shoulder and rammed into an officer who had already been sprayed with a chemical irritant during the riot, knocking her off her feet and sending her crashing into a bicycle barricade. He also admitted knocking a cameraman to the ground with a “blindside shoulder-tackle.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to reflect that Lauren Wegner lived in Skokie at the time of her death. Sangamon County officials initially said she lived elsewhere.

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