Suspect's sister: My brother didn't drive away from Elmhurst police until they shot at him
Moments before an Elmhurst police officer fired two shots at Byron Auterberry, the Chicago man made a pledge, his sister said.
"He said, 'I'm not going to jail,'" Vanessa Auterberry told investigators in a recorded interview last February.
But on Monday, while testifying in her brother's trial, Vanessa Auterberry was less clear about her brother's comments, saying she wasn't sure what he said or if it included the word "jail."
Byron Auterberry, 44, of the 1200 block of Waller Avenue in Chicago, is accused of aggravated assault of a police officer, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding a police officer, and driving with a suspended license. He also is charged with burglary and retail theft from a separate case.
Elmhurst police officers Alex Kefaloukos and Brandt Cappitelli were attempting to block Auterberry's car and conduct a traffic stop at 4:50 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2018, at the intersection of southbound York Road and Crestview Avenue after Cappitelli recognized him as a suspect in a recent theft from Mariano's.
Both officers have testified in DuPage County court that as they approached Auterberry's vehicle in plain clothes, they loudly ordered him to stop the car and get out.
Both officers were driving unmarked police vehicles.
Kefaloukos said he approached Auterberry's vehicle from the front and remained there while Cappitelli approached from behind. During this time, Kefaloukos said, Auterberry continued to move his vehicle forward in a jerking manner, prompting both officers to draw their service weapons.
Vanessa Auterberry, who also was in the car, testified the scene was chaotic as Cappitelli fought with her brother to get the driver's-side door of her car open. It was during this struggle that Byron Auterberry is alleged to have told his sister he wasn't going to jail, calling into question his defense that he didn't know Kefaloukos and Cappitelli were police officers because of their undercover vehicles and plain clothes.
Vanessa Auterberry also contradicted the officers' claims that Kefaloukos fired into the car, striking Byron Auterberry twice after he accelerated toward Kefaloukos in an attempt to flee.
"The car didn't even start moving until they started shooting," she told the jury. "Then we went to the right and we were gone. What was he supposed to do?"
She also disputed that the officers were ever in danger of being run over.
"It was never even close. Never," she said. "They were off to the left, and we were turning right."
Vanessa said they eventually drove to Chicago, sparking a high-speed chase that eventually was abandoned in residential Melrose Park. They wound up parking about three blocks away from Byron's home.
The next morning, Vanessa said, the police were at her mother's home.
"They said they weren't leaving until they had Byron," she said. She then led police to a relative's home on the South Side, where he was arrested.
"My main concern was my vehicle," she said, because police told her she wouldn't get it back until her brother was in custody.
Auterberry's second passenger, described as a longtime love interest, is expected to testify Tuesday morning before the defense presents its case.
Attorneys for both sides told Judge Robert Miller that they expect to have closing arguments and present the case to the jury for deliberation Tuesday.