New Berlin Man Brandishes Gun at State Senator

By Benjamin Cox on March 19, 2021 at 8:30pm

A New Berlin man faces several charges after brandishing a gun at an Illinois State Senator on Monday night.

According to a WAND-TV and State Journal-Register report, the incident began with the two vehicles traveling westbound on Lawrence Avenue at approximately 8:15 PM Monday. An SUV carrying 50-year-old Illinois State Senator Elgie Sims of Chicago and a Chevy pickup truck being driven by 54-year-old Michael L. Hoyle of New Berlin got into a confrontation after Hoyle allegedly was harassing Sims with horn honks and flashing brights. Hoyle then allegedly pulled alongside Sims’ vehicle and displayed a handgun.

The vehicles then turned south on Chatham Road before the suspect’s vehicle stopped following the victim and went west on Old Jacksonville Road. Springfield Police said an officer found the suspect’s vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on Bradfordton Road, north of Old Jacksonville Road.

Hoyle was then arrested after police conducted a search of his vehicle and discovered a .40 caliber handgun. Hoyle was booked into the Sangamon County Jail on preliminary charges of unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a firearm despite having a revoked Firearm Owners Identification card, aggravated assault/use of a deadly weapon, and possession of ammunition with no valid FOID card.

Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright told the State Journal-Register he is awaiting reports from Springfield police detectives before making a final decision on more charges.

Sims told the State Journal-Register that the incident began after he left the Stratton Office Building, where he underwent a test for COVID-19 in advance of Senate sessions and committee meetings held this week. Sims said he was headed to a home he owns on Springfield’s west side and was talking with his wife by phone on a Bluetooth device when his wife told him that she heard a beeping sound in the background. Sims said he found a vehicle behind him flashing lights and honking their horn at him.

Sims says that Hoyle’s vehicle cut him off in front of the Pasfield Golf Course. Sims said that the Chevy pickup pulled alongside him while he was on the phone with 9-1-1 and rolled down his window to hell him police were on the way. Sims says that’s when Hoyle flashed the gun at him. Sims said he sped off to avoid being shot. Sims says that Hoyle then began chasing him again. Sims later met up with a Jerome Police Officer at a Schnucks while Hoyle was apprehended a short time later.

Police have not been able to establish a motive for the incident. Sims told the SJ-R that race or Sims’ legislative license plates on his vehicle may have possibly fueled the incident.

Hoyle is a Springfield small business owner according to LinkedIn and Secretary of State records, as he is listed as president and owner of Kwik-Wall Company. Hoyle was released on Tuesday after posting a $15,000 bond.

Sims was the Senate sponsor of legislation that will eliminate the state’s cash bail system in two years. The 50-year-old Senator told the SJR that he believes Hoyle would have been detained and remained behind bars if the court system, as the new law will require, had to perform a more thorough analysis on whether releasing a suspect would pose a risk to public safety.