Published October 25, 2002
NEW YORK – The truck driver who reported the sniper suspects' vehicle to police says he only did what anyone else would have done and plans to share any of the $500,000 reward he might receive with victims' families.
"I'm no hero," Ron Lantz of Ludlow, Ky., said in a television interview. "I just want people to think what I did is what I should have done."
Lantz says he pulled to the rest stop on westbound Interstate 70 shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday morning — having just heard a description of the model, make and license plate of the car.
"I pulled in the rest area there, and I seen the car that they'd been giving descriptions on there," Lantz told Fox News on Thursday. "It was a blue '96 Caprice, and I happened to notice the license plate, New Jersey license plates, and there was a gentleman behind me and I was talking to him about it. He said well, we better call."
The modest Lantz said what may be the understatement of the year: "So I called ... I told them there was somebody, you know, they might want to see."
Police told him they'd be at the scene as soon as possible, Lantz said, but asked him and another driver to block the exit to the rest area so nobody could get out. The stop was abuzz with a swarm of law enforcement officers, cars and helicopters some 20 minutes later.
"There were so many police around there, FBI and ATF and all of the local police around there ... there was a bunch of them there," Lantz said, adding that he watched the blur of action from the rear-view mirror of his truck.
As for the $500,000 reward, it's not yet clear how much Lantz or anyone else who assisted in the investigation might receive. He was not the first to call in and ID the car, authorities noted.
"We're just celebrating the information that we were able to release (Thursday) and we'll begin to deal with that tomorrow," said Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said.
Rest stop attendant Larry Blank said another motorist also spotted the suspects and called police, the New York Post reported. Blank said he and the unidentified motorist watched as cops "surrounded the whole rest area and told us we need to stay put, that they was going to have ATF and all kinds of people coming through there."
"Larry deserves the money," his neighbor, Angie Breakall, told the paper. "Anybody who helped catch these guys deserves it."
Maj. Greg Shipley, a spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said investigators know the identity of the first person who called 911 and reported the blue Chevrolet Caprice in which John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, were sleeping.
"He was certainly a concerned citizen who had, not long before, heard a broadcast for the lookout and was alert and spotted that vehicle," Shipley said.
Shipley said the individual's name is being withheld because he is a witness in a criminal investigation. The man lives in a bordering state, but comes to Maryland regularly for work, he said.
In addition to callers who reported seeing the car, others could have contributed information vital to the case in other ways and might be eligible for a share of the reward, Baur noted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.