Chynna Stapleton
Photo: Chicago Police Department
Photo: Chicago Police Department

Woman charged with fatally ramming teen into tree in rage over man, police say

Chynna Stapleton, 24, was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Tatyanna Lewis, according to Chicago police

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The Chicago Tribune reported that Stapleton and Lewis were arguing shortly after 11 p.m. Friday on the city’s south side when Stapleton got into her Jeep Liberty and chased Lewis down a sidewalk. Witnesses told police that she pinned the teen against a tree and repeatedly rammed her with the vehicle.

Brittany Patrick, who lives in the residential neighborhood where the confrontation took place, told NBC 5 Chicago that she heard the women arguing before witnessing Lewis’ death. 

“As soon as I looked out my window, I saw a girl being rammed into the tree, and (run) over, and backed over and over again,” Patrick said. “She hit my car backing over the body, and then backed back over the body and got away.”

Stapleton struck multiple vehicles as she fled the scene, the Tribune reported. She was taken into custody a short time later. 

The Jeep Liberty, its front crumpled and with chunks of bark stuck to it, was found about a mile and a half from the crime scene, the newspaper reported. A small child was sitting in the back seat of the vehicle when it was found. 

Lewis posted a status on her Facebook page about three hours before her death that seemed to refer to an impending confrontation with the mother of her boyfriend’s child. It was not immediately clear if the women’s argument turned physical before Stapleton got back into the SUV. 

Patrick and other bystanders told NBC 5 that the Jeep jumped the curb at a high rate of speed and tore through a front lawn before the impact with Lewis and the tree. Stapleton backed up and struck the teen at least two more times before driving away, witnesses said.

Stapleton’s mugshot showed that her face was bruised at some point during the assault. She also had a bandage over the lower portion of her jaw. 

Investigators confirmed Sunday night that Lewis is the daughter of a Chicago police officer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times

The teen was pronounced dead at the scene Friday night, the Sun-Times reported. An autopsy showed that she died of multiple blunt-force injuries. 

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