A 20-year-old man and 17-year-old girl from Carthage were the victims of a road rage-related shooting Friday night on Interstate 49 just south of Harrisonville, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

William H. Lones and the girl, whose name has not been released because of her status as a juvenile, were taken to a Kansas City area hospital with injuries described initially as life-threatening. Lones has since been released from the hospital, the sheriff’s office reported Tuesday.

The two were found wounded inside a vehicle that pulled off the northbound lanes of I-49 at the East 307th Street exit in the immediate aftermath of the shooting about 11 p.m. Friday. Their black Hyundai Elantra was riddled with bullet holes on its right side, the sheriff’s office said.

The girl, who was a backseat passenger, had gunshot wounds to the lower part of her right leg and to her right hip. Lones, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, had wounds to his right arm and neck. The driver of the vehicle, a 19-year-old man from Carthage, escaped harm.

Deputies arriving at the scene learned that the vehicle from which the shots had been fired, a Hyundai Tucson with Texas license plates, continued north on I-49. The SUV was located about 13 miles to the north moments later and stopped by deputies with the aid of a Grappler device, a netting system that can be deployed from a patrol vehicle’s bumper to stop fleeing vehicles.

Taken into custody were the driver, Kawnn M. Parrish, 29, and his wife, Colleen J. Riley, 18, of Grand Prairie, Texas. They were traveling with their 1-year-old son secured in the back seat of their vehicle.

Deputies subsequently located a handgun with a barrel still warm to the touch inside a diaper bag in their SUV, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed with charges against them.

The couple purportedly acknowledged in separate interviews that they became embroiled in a situation with two other vehicles that “got out of hand,” as the affidavit states.

Riley told an investigator that they were on their way to Kansas City to visit her mother and the mother’s husband. She was asleep and woke up when their vehicle swerved.

She said a black car and white SUV kept passing them and slowing down, forcing them to repass them and that this had continued for some time, with someone in the car yelling the word “b----” at them at one point.

The affidavit states that Riley declined to discuss how the shooting took place.

Parrish similarly said that the two vehicles had been passing them several times and slowing down, forcing them to repass. He said that at one point, the SUV got in front of their vehicle and slammed on the brakes with a semitruck right behind them.

The affidavit states that he was scared and thought they were “going to get ambushed” when the black car subsequently pulled up beside them with a man hanging out the passenger-side window. He said his wife told him to shoot and he did, emptying the gun out the window “trying to shoot the white SUV.”

The affidavit states that the investigator asked if it had been the black car out of which the passenger was leaning, and Parrish told him it was. He was then asked if he had fired shots at that vehicle, and he told the investigator that he did not know “and wasn’t going to wait to find out.”

“(The suspect) went back (and) forth on if the passenger was acting like he had a gun (or) he did have a gun,” the affidavit reads.

Lones told a second detective at the hospital that the occupants of Elantra were traveling in the company of his fiancee’s father, who was driving a white Chevrolet Tahoe and had experienced some road rage with the suspect that led to the playing of leap frog with them for about 60 miles on I-49.

He said they were passing the suspect’s vehicle to keep up with the Tahoe when the suspect began yelling at them. He said he rolled down his window and the suspect started shooting, according to the affidavit.

Both Parrish and Riley have been charged with two counts of first-degree assault, a single count of unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of accessory to armed criminal action. They remained in custody Tuesday at the Cass County Jail with no bond set as yet.

Their 1-year-old son was taken into state protective custody following their arrests.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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