I-270 closes as police deal with emotionally distressed man

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TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. - A police standoff closed Interstate 270 for about 90 minutes Monday morning.

I-270 was shut down between Manchester and Interstate 64/40 while police negotiated with a man in a red pick-up truck who refused to get out.

Police initially suspected the man behind the wheel was armed.

“He wouldn't show his hands. He was acting like he had a weapon, so the officer backed off,” said Town and Country Police Chief Gary Hoelzer.

Town and Country police received several calls about an erratic driver traveling westbound on I-64. At some point, the driver pulled onto the shoulder of westbound I-270 just south of 64/40. That’s’ where the officer found him in a great deal of emotional distress.

“We shut down the interstate as a precaution to the motoring public,” Hoelzer said. “We didn’t want any innocent motorist to be injured or wounded by anything that could develop.”

Police played it safe, St. Louis County SWAT responded with a negotiator, and they successfully resolved the situation. Authorities eventually discovered the man did not have a weapon.

“When they have a situation like this with someone in crisis they want to stabilize the situation,” Hoelzer said. “We don’t want more of it than what it is at the moment.”

The man had warrants out for his arrest and he was taken into custody. The highway was opened back up just after noon.

Chief Hoelzer said that in the past, officers might not have been as patient with a situation like this. However, now officers are better trained to recognize a crisis intervention situation. A situation where someone is dealing with mental illness.

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A MoDOT traffic camera shows a traffic backup in the area:

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