House moves to honor three killed in 'terribly wrong' 1979 incident
Two police officers and a civilian who were killed in a highway shootout nearly four decades ago would have the overpass where the incident took place renamed in their honor under a House Joint Resolution introduced on Tuesday.
Another officer who was wounded but survived would also see his name memorialized.
Rep. Thomas Bennett (R-Gibson City) introduced HJR21 to designate the overpass at 200 North Road south of Paxon on Interstate 57 as the “McCarter-Caisse-Vice-Hale Memorial Overpass.”
“A few session days ago, we were honored to have two gentlemen from Paxton, Illinois,” Bennet said to the House floor. “The two men were Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold and semi-retired policeman Larry Hale. When they were here, we shared that Larry Hale was wounded and five others were shot and killed in a major shootout on I-57 on the evening of April 7, 1979. State Trooper [Michael] McCarter, brother in law [Donald] Vice, and Paxton Officer [William] Caisse lost their lives in this traffic stop gone terribly wrong.”
The incident began around 9 p.m. when Hale and Caisse were dispatched to help stop four southbound vehicles traveling 10 mph above the speed limit. The call came in from McCarter, who spotted the vehicle. McCarter's brother-in-law, Vice, was riding with him.
Traveling in separate vehicles, Hale and Caisse left the Paxton police station and headed to the interstate, where McCarter had already pulled over the vehicles just below the overpass at Paxton. One of the cars, a Ford Thunderbird, fled the scene and McCarter chased it. It was shortly after that the shootout took place between the officers and David, Cleveland and Monroe Lampkin, part of a family heading to Mississippi for a funeral and drivers of the Thunderbird and a pickup truck that was pulled over.
David and Cleveland Lampkin was killed in the shootout. Monroe Lampkin fled but was arrested the next day. He is now serving a life sentence at the Stateville Correctional Center. The brothers were allegedly part of an auto parts theft ring in Detroit.
Bennett talked about the heroism of the officers and Vice.
“These three were survived by their spouses and children, and we wish today to honor them for their sacrifice and courage to fight for this community and for standing in harm’s way,” Bennett said. “We thank them for their service and for their ultimate sacrifice, and with this approval of HJR21, we wish to designate the overpass at 200 North Road Crossing at I-57 South of Paxton as the “McCarter-Caisse-Vice-Hale Memorial Overpass."
After a moment of silence, the resolution passed unanimously.