Lauren Wegner, of Skokie, was killed on November 8 in a wrong-way crash on I-55 near Springfield; her parents said she was on her way to see friends.
Wegner had returned to Skokie from North Carolina earlier this year, living with her parents since March. Last week, her father, Bill Wegner, tried to persuade his daughter to postpone a trip to see friends in St. Louis.
“‘It’ll be dark in a couple hours,’ I say. ‘Why don’t you just stay at home and we’ll go get something to eat?'” He stated.
Wegner, however, reminded him, as she often did, that she was 35, and promised a raincheck.
“‘How about when I get back?’ she says. I have some days off, so we’ll go on one of them. ‘I swear!'” He stated.
Wegner intended to follow through on her promise, but she never made it to St. Louis. Instead, an Illinois State Trooper knocked on her parents’ door.
“She comes back in and said she had a collision and didn’t survive,” Evelyn Wegner, her mother, said through tears.
Shane Jason Woods of Auburn, according to the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s office, was driving north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 in Springfield when his pickup truck collided head on with Wegner’s car.
Woods, who previously pled guilty to assaulting a police officer and a cameraman during the January 6 insurgency at the United States Capitol, now faces up to 60 years in prison in Illinois for first-degree murder.
“When we got the call yesterday that it was murder one we were crying happy tears,” Evelyn Wegner said.
The Wegners say Woods’ detention without bond and facing a first-degree murder charge for their daughter’s death helps to ease the pain of loss, but only slightly because it doesn’t bring her back.
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