A 20-year-old Lawrence man died at a Wichita hospital after a suicide attempt on Interstate 70 that shut down the westbound lanes of the highway in Riley County overnight on Monday and into Tuesday morning.
According to information from the Kansas Highway Patrol, the man, whom police identified as Jonathan Seuell, had called 911 asking for a suicide hotline just before 10:30 p.m. Monday. During the call, Riley County dispatchers determined Seuell was on Interstate 70 near Manhattan.
His car was found on the north shoulder of the westbound lanes of I-70 near mile post 318, which is about five miles east of the Kansas Highway 177 exit for Manhattan. As officers approached the car Seuell was driving, a 1997 Honda Civic, he called dispatchers and asked that the officers stay back unless they were wearing chemical suits, because chemicals were inside his car.
Riley County Police Capt. Kurt Moldrup said Seuell had released hydrogen sulfide gas inside the car and stopped talking with officers.
Because of the toxic, flammable nature of the gas, authorities shut down the westbound lanes of the interstate.
Officers tried to negotiate with Seuell for several hours, but he wouldn’t talk with officers, Moldrup said. A robot ultimately was used to survey the car, and found Seuell inside and unresponsive.
Officers in chemical suits approached the car and removed the man. After he was decontaminated, Seuell was taken to Mercy Regional Hospital in Manhattan before being life-flighted to Wichita, where he died later Tuesday.
The interstate was reopened just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.