Trucker blocks I-44 near Springfield in protest

Thursday, September 13, 2001

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Texas truck driver blocked Interstate 44 in southwest Missouri, chained himself to his rig and held a knife to his throat Wednesday in protest of the terrorist attacks.

The 31-year-old man from Houston, who also carried a newspaper story on the attacks, brought westbound traffic on the busy interstate to a halt for about 30 minutes, Springfield police spokesman Kirk Manlove said.

"He definitely said he was upset because of the New York City attacks," Manlove said.

Police struck the man in the arm with a single beanbag shot, knocked the pocket knife to the ground and took him into custody. He was not injured but was taken to a Springfield hospital for consideration of a mental evaluation.

A bomb squad searched the man's tractor-trailer rig as a precaution, but nothing was found.

The rig is owned by Deaton Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., Manlove said.

Scott Smith, vice president of operations at the company's headquarters, said he had not been told of the incident. Dispatchers had no reports of any drivers being distraught, he said.

Traffic began moving about 11:30 a.m.

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