MODESTO (CBS13) — A prior felon has been arrested on suspicion of shooting at a big rig while driving on Highway 99 near Modesto.
California Highway Patrol says, a little before 11 a.m. Tuesday, officers got a report about a shooting along the freeway just north of Pelandale Road. A big rig driver reported that someone in an SUV had just shot at his truck.READ MORE: 'Never Been So Excited': Nonprofit Gets Unexpected Help As Storm Threatens Shelter
One bullet was later found to have hit the driver’s side door, shattering some glass. The bullet did not get further into the big rig’s cabin, officer’s say.
After the shooting, officers say the suspect got off the freeway and headed towards San Joaquin County. Several other motorists reported that the suspect also brandished the weapon at them. One of the other drivers was able to write down the suspect’s license plate and gave it to CHP.
Several hours after the shooting, officers caught up to the suspect at a gas station in Stockton and arrested him.
The suspect has been identified as 25-year-old Oakland resident Derrick Terrell Thomas. Officers say they found a black AR-15 rifle like the one described in the Highway 99 incidents after a search of his home.READ MORE: Updates: Strong Winds And Rain Moving Across Sacramento Region
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Exactly what prompted Thomas, who authorities say was a prior felon, to allegedly open fire at the big rig is unclear. CHP says the incident appears to be random as Thomas and the victim did not know each other.
Michael Casa lives across the freeway not far from where the shooting happened.
“That is very reckless,” he said.
Casa said he’s thankful for a driver’s sharp eye and the big rig that saved the truck driver’s life.
“He could’ve been taken out. That metal saved him,” he said.MORE NEWS: Two New Sandbag Locations Opened In Sacramento
Thomas has been booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center and is facing attempted murder, among other charges.