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The Daily



12-10-03: Hostage situation ends safely

Trucker threatens to kill self in St. Marys


ST. MARYS — An Indiana man, wanted for child molestation charges in that state, kept local law enforcement officers at bay for an hour this morning as he held a knife to his throat along westbound U.S. 33 near St. Marys.
Ricky Eugene Gunter, 47, of Camden, Ind., surrendered to officers at 7:28 a.m. and was transported to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Marys, for observation. No injuries were reported.
Gunter told officers he had overdosed on heart medication and required medical attention, according to Sgt. Rick Swayer, a public information officer for the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Columbus.
The incident began when a motor carrier enforcement unit from the Wapakoneta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) attempted to pull Gunter over for a lighting violation as the semitrailer traveled westbound on U.S. 33 at Ohio 116. The motor carrier officer found some discrepancies in the trucker’s log book, discussed it with the driver and subsequently ran a check of his operator’s license through Indiana and Ohio.
“It was at that point, the man barricaded himself in the truck’s cab and held a knife to his throat,” Swayer said, adding that he only threatened himself and not the officers.
At least seven OSHP officers and three officers from St. Marys Police Department immediately arrived at the scene to assist. Early morning traffic was rerouted as officers closed the busy four-lane highway for more than an hour.
A mediator from the St. Marys Police Department was called in and spoke to Gunter who surrendered without incident a short time later, Swayer said.
No charges were filed against him at press time today, although he is being held on a warrant for failure to appear in court in Lafayette, Ind., Swayer said.
“A check of his identification revealed a warrant for failure to appear in court in Indiana where he faces two counts of child molestation,” Swayer said.
Charges stemming from this morning’s incident will likely follow after review of the case by the Auglaize County Prosecutor’s Office, Swayer added.
The semitrailer, owned by J. Transport Inc. of Marion, Ind., remained at the scene at press time today.


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