Eight hours after a man who police say intentionally crashed his SUV into a ditch of U.S. 17 by Interstate 95 and threatened he had a bomb, the man was taken into custody by a Glynn County police tactical team.
Police said the man jumped out of his SUV naked at about 5:10 a.m. Friday after driving into the ditch by the Love’s Truck Stop. He claimed to have an explosive device, threatened to kill himself and others, then barricaded himself back inside the vehicle. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Bomb Unit responded, as did other law enforcement officers.
U.S. 17 was closed in both directions between I-95 and the Sidney Lanier Bridge as police surrounded the vehicle.
Just before 1:30 p.m., a News4Jax camera recorded as a sniper fired five gas cartridges into the vehicle, causing puffs of smoke, followed by the SWAT team moving in.
Police said the man was tased to get him to open his arms so he could be handcuffed. He appeared unhurt but was taken to Southeast Georgia Regional Medical Center for evaluation.
“The officers couldn’t get his hands so they did what we call a touch-tase, and that’s when he gave up and we handcuffed him,” interim Glynn County Police Chief Rick Evans said. “He was just very much out of it and very agitated. He had a lot of slurred speech and things of that nature.”
The man, who they did not identify but said was from the area, will likely be charged with terroristic threats and acts and possibly other violations.
GBI searched the SUV and the man’s home and no explosive material was found.
U.S. 17 and the exit from I-95 reopened about 2 p.m.
Callers to News4Jax began early Friday, reporting heavily armed police swarming the area before dawn.
School buses were rerouted throughout the morning and traffic on I-95 backed up for miles.
“I hope for the best,” said truck driver William Kniphfer, among those who couldn’t get through on U.S. 17. He with on to praise the law enforcement response: “I don’t know what we’d do without them.”
Thea Brooks was on her way to breakfast when she saw all the police. She’s grateful it ended safely.
“For the long period of time that’s he’s been out here and sometimes reports are not as good, but I’m so grateful that he was able to be talked down out of the car and that he’s going to get the help that he needs,” Brooks said.