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Ill. Cop Charged in Motorist Death

August 4, 2000

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) _ Prosecutors filed murder charges Thursday against a police officer who allegedly shot to death a mentally disabled motorist after chasing him down on the highway for failing to pay for a tank of gas.

State’s Attorney Charles Reynard charged Jeffrey Gabor, 23, with first and second degree murder in the July 24 death of Shannon Lee Smith, 27.

Reynard said charges were filed against Gabor after an investigation by Illinois State Police. He refused to provide further information.

Officials said Gabor turned himself in Thursday at the McLean County Sheriff’s Department and was being held on $500,000 bond.

Police say Smith drove away from a Chenoa service station without paying for $15.05 worth of gas, and officers from three agencies began a chase after he was spotted about an hour later. Officers apparently boxed his vehicle in at a bridge, and more than 20 shots were fired after Smith backed into an unoccupied police car while trying to get away.

Bev King, manager of the gas station where Smith failed to pay, said Smith had driven off on more than two previous occasions, and those incidents also had been reported to police.

King said Smith would eventually come back to the store to pay the money.

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