Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Car bomb injuring lawyer and his two children; ATF offers $10G reward
A car bomb was responsible for the mysterious blast that seriously injured a Michigan lawyer and his two sons as they drove in a city south of Detroit, authorities said Wednesday.
Erik G. Chappell was driving his sons to football practice at around 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday when their Volvo station wagon exploded near a highway underpass in Monroe, Mich., local WXYZ television reported.
The blast spewed fire and twisted metal across the four-lane road, according to local reports. Black plumes of smoke clouded the darkening afternoon sky, and witnesses said the detonation could be heard for miles away.
"It sounded like someone slamming a Dumpster down," a local resident, Shawn Remington, 33, told the Detroit Free Press. "[The car] totaled out completely."
Emergency crews rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze, leaving the car a smoldering, blackened shell.
Chappell, a lawyer in Monroe, and his boys were rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, about 20 miles to the south. They were all reported in serious condition, but are expected to survive.
Donald Dawkins, a special agent for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, told reporters Wednesday that the bomb was placed in the center of the car. He did not provide details about the device.
Investigators combed the scene of the explosion on Wednesday. Authorities said they don't know why someone would want to bomb Chappell's car. A $10,000 reward has been offered for any information about the bomber.
Dawkins described the attack as a "heinous crime" and said the victims were lucky to be alive.
"When you have children involved, it really hits home," Dawkins said.
Chappell's colleagues in the legal community described him as a hard-working attorney who focused on business disputes and family law.
"I have no idea why someone would want to do this," attorney Daniel McQuade, who had opposed Chappell in a divorce case, told the Free Press. "He was very good to work with. We always got along fine.