Suspect Charged in Fatal Interstate Shooting of Suburban Mom Was ‘Paranoid' About Tinted Windows: Docs

Tracy Czaczkowski, 44, was shot Sunday on Interstate 90/94 in Sauk County while headed home from a popular water park with her husband and two kids

The man charged with killing a mother of two in an apparently random drive-by shooting on a Wisconsin interstate Sunday was paranoid about tinted windows, like the kind on the woman's car, according to a criminal complaint.

Zachary T. Hays, 20, was charged Wednesday with one count of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the shooting that killed Tracy Czaczkowski, 44, as she returned home to Illinois from the Wisconsin Dells with her family, according to the Dane County Sheriff's office. He also faces three counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday against Hays showed that his brother, 30-year-old Jeremy Hays, who was in the car at the time, told detectives that he "had been acting extremely paranoid" after smoking marijuana four days earlier. 

Hays was allegedly particularly paranoid about cars with tinted windows, like the one the Czaczkowski family was in. 

"Zachary was 'freaking out' about the tinted windows on the sedan," the complaint reads. "He slowed down to let the sedan catch up on the left side ... and shot at the black sedan three times."

Police said Hays remains at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Hays was hospitalized after his vehicle was stopped on Interstate 90/94 near DeForest, Wisconsin, using spike strips and ultimately shot by two Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies after refusing to drop his gun, authorities said. His condition was not immediately known.

Jeremy Hays is being held on a tentative charge of felon in possession of a firearm, police said. Another brother also in the car was not being named "due to his cognitive disability."

Czaczkowski, of Buffalo Grove, was shot Sunday on Interstate 90/94 in Sauk County while headed home from a popular water park with her husband and two kids. She died two days after the apparently random attack. 

A gunman fired three times into the car as Czaczkowski's family vehicle attempted to pass the shooter’s Chevy Blazer, according to NBC affiliate station in Madison WMTV.

Czaczkowski was traveling home from the Wisconsin Dells with her husband, an employee with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and two kids at the time of the shooting.

She was taken to an area hospital Sunday where she was initially listed in very critical condition. No other injuries were reported. 

Dennis Wichern, a special agent in charge of the Chicago's DEA field division, called the shooting "the most tragic incident I've ever seen in my 30 years of being in law enforcement."

"This one makes no sense," he said. "It's tragic, it's senseless, and it just goes to show you how precious life is at times."

According to the DEA, funeral arrangements for Czaczkowski have not yet been announced. Those wishing to assist the children with future needs such as education are asked to visit the family's GoFundMe page, the agency said.

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