Bellville Police Car

Bellville police were involved in a chase on Tuesday that ended with the suicide of a 48-year-old Hancock County man.

BELLVILLE -- An incident that began as a car stop late Tuesday afternoon led to a chase and ended in the suicide of a Hancock County man later in Delaware County, according to a Wednesday press release from Bellville police Chief Ron Willey.

An unidentified 48-year-old man was the subject in the incident, Willey said.

According to the press release, Bellville police stopped a westbound car for alleged traffic violations on Ohio 97 near I-71 at 5:31 p.m.

The 2000 Buick pulled into Love's Travel Stop, where officers made contact with the driver, who then accelerated out of the parking lot and entered I-71 southbound.

Bellville officers pursued the vehicle south on 1-71 with lights and sirens, according to the chief, who said the driver failed to comply with the signal to stop and continued south on I-71 at speeds between 70 and 80 mph.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol provided assistance and unsuccessful attempts were made to deploy Stop Sticks.

As the vehicle continued into Delaware County, a Delaware County sheriff's deputy was able to effectively deploy the tire deflation devices, flattening the right front tire of the vehicle.

The vehicle eventually came to a stop in the southbound lane of 1-71. Officers ordered the driver to show his hands and exit the vehicle.

The driver did not comply and began to move again, slowly south on I-71. The vehicle then veered off the right side of the road into a ravine and came to a stop after hitting a fence, Willey said.

Units again approached the vehicle and ordered the driver to show his hands with no response. It was then discovered the man had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"No officers or other citizens were hurt during this incident," Willey said.

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 Sheriff's Office for their assistance in this incident," Wiley said.

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