Special to 1812Blockhouse:
From Bellville Police Chief Ron Willey (revisions to make more clear):
On Tuesday, June 25 at 5:31 PM Bellville Police initiated a car stop on St Rt 97 West in the area of I-71. The stop was made for traffic violations observed by the officers.
The 2000 Buick four door vehicle pulled into the Love’s Travel Stop, where officers made contact with the operator of the vehicle, a 48 year old Hancock County man. The man then accelerated out of the parking lot and entered I-71 southbound.
Bellville officers pursued the vehicle south on I-71 with lights and siren. The driver failed to comply with the signal to stop and continued south on 71 at speeds between 70 and 80 mph. Ohio State Highway Patrol provided assistance and attempts were made to deploy the stop sticks.
As it continued into Delaware County, a Delaware County Deputy was able to effectively deploy the stop sticks, flattening the right front tire of the vehicle. The vehicle eventually came to a stop in the southbound lane of I-71 and units conducted a felony stop ordering the driver show his hands and exit the vehicle. The driver did not comply and began to move again slowly south on I-71 then veered off the right side of the roadway and into a ravine and came to a stop in a fence.
Units again approached the vehicle and ordered the driver to show his hands with no response. It was then discovered the man had succumbed from a self inflicted gunshot wound.
No officers or other citizens were hurt during this incident. The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation.
I would like to thank the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the Richland County Sheriffs Office for their assistance in this incident.