By Peter Nickeas
7:28 PM CST, February 1, 2013
A woman was shot to death while driving a van when someone pulled alongside her on the ramp from Lake Shore Drive to the Stevenson Expressway and fired 10 to 14 times Friday morning, police said.
The Chicago woman, 32, was hit at least once and died at the scene. She later was identified as Michelle Smith, of the 5000 block of South Paulina Avenue, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. A 37-year-old woman in the van escaped unharmed and was being questioned by police, officials said.
“A brown full-sized van approached in the left lane,” Illinois State Police Capt. Luis Gutierrez said at a press conference on the scene. “That vehicle shot at our victim approximately 10 to 14 rounds."
Gutierrez said police were able to talk to the passenger, who was not harmed, and police believe that "this incident stems from drug and gang activity." Police are reviewing video footage from near the scene.
The victim's criminal history includes several drug-related arrests and a four-year sentence given in 2007 for a felony narcotics conviction, records show.
Illinois State Police learned of the shooting about 4:20 a.m. from Chicago police, who got to the scene after the van crashed.
Police closed access to interstates 94 and 55 from southbound Lake Shore Drive. Flares were laid out to keep vehicles off the ramp but they were quickly extinguished by wind. The ramp was reopened about 11:30 a.m., according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
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