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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Routine Traffic Stop Uncovers Illegal Firearm And Ammunition

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Press Release Date: August 9, 2012    || Archived February 11, 2013

 Loaded Handgun Hidden Underneath Passenger Seat

ASHKUM, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Officials announced today that a District 21 Trooper on routine patrol arrested two subjects for transporting an illegal firearm and ammunition.

On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, at approximately 12:09 p.m., the trooper was traveling southbound on Interstate 57, mile post 257, when he observed a gold 2003 Lincoln LS, traveling above of the posted speed limit at 73 M.P.H. in a 65 M.P.H. Zone.  The vehicle was stopped and the driver stated that he and the passenger were en route to Woodson, Arkansas after returning from a 3-day visit in Chicago.

Upon further investigation, it was revealed that the driver, Derrick L. Withers, 30 of Woodson, Arkansas, was driving on a suspended license.  The passenger, Elton Virdon, Jr., 48 of Woodson, Arkansas, also had a suspended license. 

An inventory search of the vehicle also uncovered a .38 caliber loaded handgun and ammunition hidden underneath the passenger seat of the vehicle. 

“Illegal firearms and ammunition stashed in vehicles are passing through roads and crossing state lines every day,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.  “A traffic stop involving a loaded, hidden handgun could have turned deadly – for our trooper and for innocent victims who could have been harmed by the use of an illegal firearm,” Grau added. 

ISP District 21 Captain Bridget Bertrand applauded the training and quick thinking of the trooper, adding that good police instincts save lives. 

Both subjects were arrested for unlawful use of a handgun and unlawful possession of firearm ammunition.  Withers and Virdon were processed at the Ford County Jail.


All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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