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Police: Man ran others off highway in bus, lit himself on fire and ran at Chillicothe officers

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:53 PM CDT|Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 1:11 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A 43-year-old Dalton, Missouri, man died Wednesday evening after lighting himself on fire.

The Chillicothe Police Department stated that on Wednesday evening, 911 dispatchers learned of a man trying to buy lighters from a business and carrying a container of flammable liquid. The “suspicious” person was driving a retired and repainted school bus.

The police department stated that a short time later, dispatchers received a phone call from a concerned driver on U.S. 65 Highway, reporting a bus driving in erratically northbound toward Chillicothe. The phone call stated the driver of the bus was speeding up, slowing down rapidly, and running other vehicles off the roadway.

Officers found the bus speeding and pulled the vehicle over in the 900 block of South Washington Street.

After police contacted the driver, he jumped up from the driver’s seat, ran to the back of the bus and poured flammable liquid on himself.

He then lit himself on fire and ran toward the officers. Law enforcement used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and EMS airlifted the man to a hospital. He ultimately died.

“This was a terrible situation,” said Chief Jon Maples. “This is unlike any we’ve seen in recent years here in Chillicothe. Nothing like what we’ve ever experienced. What people tend to forget is that we’re human beings, too. I take something like this to heart, when they see something like this or are posed with a danger like this.”

KCTV5 also inquired with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office to see if there could be a possible connection to the series of home arsons in the area this week. The sheriff said they were not connected. The man in this incident did not match the description of the suspect they are looking for, he said.

The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office was also assisting with the investigation.