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Colorado man charged after random attack on Interstate 70 in Cooper County

COOPER COUNTY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Cooper County Prosecutor's Office has charged a Colorado man on Friday with attempted murder and other crimes.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Eric C. Townsend, 38, of Brighton, Colorado, was arrested on Thursday at 12 p.m.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrested Eric C. Townsend, 38, of Brighton, Colorado, in Cooper County on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. He could face several charges, including second-degree attempted murder.

According to court documents obtained by ABC 17 News, a woman involved in a non-injury crash started screaming while on the phone with the Cooper County Emergency Operations Center.

Troopers said a white Chevrolet Sonic with damage to the front end was found abandoned on Interstate 70 near mile marker 96.

No one was found in the car, according to court documents.

Troopers said a woman with significant injuries to her face and head was found running along the interstate near the crash.

According to court documents, she was driving a red Chevrolet Equinox, but the vehicle wasn't found in the area.

The woman's SUV was later discovered on I-70 near mile marker 74 in Saline County. Troopers said Townsend was found at a nearby business and arrested.

According to court documents, he admitted during an interview he intentionally crashed into the woman's SUV with the purpose to kill the driver.

Troopers said Townsend admitted he tried to strangle and gouge the woman's eyes out after he pulled her out of the SUV.

Townsend is accused of stealing the woman's vehicle after the attack.

An eyewitness Bruce Jones stated Townsend drove to Betty's C-Store after he allegedly stole the victim's car. Jones said the suspect was yelling and screaming in the parking lot of the store.

"He was saying he wanted to fight and wanted to break and kill, but not really making sense and at the point, the sheriff's department pulled up and he kinda yelled at him and puffed up and they pulled their guns out and pronged him out right here at the gas station," said Jones.

Jones said Townsend even attempted to steal other people's cars in the parking lot.

"Yeah first mine and then another employee's truck that was sitting out front," Jones said.

According to court documents, Townsend told investigators he planned to kill someone else but couldn't find another person.

Troopers said the woman was taken to University Hospital in Columbia with serious injuries.

The highway patrol didn't release her name or condition.

Jones believes Townsend could have been on a few different drugs.

"He looked right through me as I was talking to him... he wasn't there. So it seemed maybe drugs or something". Jones said.

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Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the senior producer at ABC 17 News.

Kennedy Miller

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