Sheriff: 2 charged with gun crimes after I-90 road-rage incident

  • Steven J. Baxter

    Steven J. Baxter

  • Shamekwa N. Starnes

    Shamekwa N. Starnes

  • The Kane County sheriff's office seized these weapons and body armor on June 14 during a traffic stop on I-90 near Hampshire.

    The Kane County sheriff's office seized these weapons and body armor on June 14 during a traffic stop on I-90 near Hampshire. Courtesy of the Kane County sheriff's office

 
 
Updated 6/15/2022 9:16 PM

A couple stopped during an investigation into a road-rage incident near Hampshire Tuesday now face gun-related charges after a Kane County detective found body armor and armor-piercing ammunition in their vehicle, authorities said.

Steven J. Baxter, 37, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of possession of a weapon by a felon, according to the Kane County sheriff's office. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

 

Shamekwa N. Starnes, 29, of the 800 block of Easton Parkway in Rockford, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in a vehicle without a permit to carry. She was released on a personal recognizance bond.

According to the news release, deputies received a radio dispatch saying there was a road-rage incident where occupants of a vehicle pointed firearms at other motorists. A few minutes later, a detective saw the vehicle driving west on Interstate 90 near Tyrell Road.

Because the car was speeding, the detective called for assistance from the Illinois State Police before stopping the vehicle near Route 20, authorities said.

According to the news release, the detective smelled marijuana in the vehicle and searched it. The officers found a loaded Glock 42 .380-caliber handgun in the glove box, and ta Kel-Tec pistol, a ballistic vest designed to stop rifle shots and a 50-round drum magazine of ammunition were found in the trunk, authorities said.

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Baxter told a bond-call judge that he was returning from selling dogs in South Carolina and that he pointed his hand out the window, not a gun.

In 2021, Baxter pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally importing/manufacturing weapons and gun parts from South Carolina to a woman in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He is on parole in that case. Online court records indicate he also is charged with several weapons offenses in Winnebago County.

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