Man kills self during traffic stop

HENRY COUNTY — A man fatally shot himself in front of a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy on Monday afternoon following a traffic stop along Interstate 70, according to police.

Around 2 p.m. Monday, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Ernstes and an officer from the Henry County Sheriff’s Department attempted to pull the man over near the 130 mile marker on westbound I-70 in Henry County after a 911 caller told dispatchers the driver was speeding and possibly intoxicated, police said.

When Ernstes and the other officer approached the car, the driver got out of the vehicle holding a handgun, police said. The two officers retreated to their patrol cars and asked the driver to put the weapon away, police said.

Eventually, the man turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger. He was pronounced dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, police said.

At press time, officers had not released the man’s name or any information about him pending notification of his family, Hancock County Sheriff Mike Shepherd said.

Neither police officer on scene during the shooting was hurt in the incident, and the officers did not fire their weapons, Shepherd said.

Both officers were questioned by investigators, Shepherd said. Several members of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department’s administration aided in the initial investigation, dispatch records show.

All westbound lanes of I-70 between state roads 1 and 3 were closed Monday afternoon while police investigated the man’s death. The investigation, led by the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, is ongoing.

Ernstes and the Henry County officer involved both are members of the multiagency Proactive Criminal Enforcement (P.A.C.E.) team. The P.A.C.E. team is comprised of officers from four area agencies and patrols I-70 from Indianapolis to the Ohio state line in an effort to fight drug trafficking. The officers involved routinely make stops along the roadway.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.