Chillicothe police report death of Dalton man who set himself on fire during traffic stop

Chillicothe Missouri Police Department

Chillicothe Police Chief Jon Maples reports a 43-year-old Dalton man died as the result of an incident on May 11th in which the man poured flammable liquid on himself and ignited the liquid.

The Chillicothe E-911 Communications Center received information from another jurisdiction south of Livingston County around 6:30 in the evening in reference to a male described as suspicious attempting to obtain lighters from businesses. He was reportedly carrying a container of flammable liquid while doing so and driving a retired and repainted school bus.

Maples says a short while later, the Communications Center received a call from a driver reporting a bus driving in a careless and imprudent manner on northbound Highway 65 toward Chillicothe. The reporting party said the driver of the bus was speeding up, slowing down rapidly, and running other vehicles off the road.  Officers located the bus around 7:15 traveling at a high rate of speed as it entered Chillicothe. Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 900 block of South Washington Street.

The driver jumped from the driver’s seat and ran to the back of the bus. The windows were said to be heavily tinted, and officers could not see what the driver was doing. The man allegedly ignored officers’ requests to show himself and exit the bus.  While remaining out of officers’ sight, the driver poured flammable liquid on himself and ignited it. He then ran from the bus toward the officers.

Chillicothe Police officers used a fire extinguisher from a patrol car to attempt to save the person’s life. They called for Livingston County Emergency Medical Services and the Chillicothe Fire Department.  Despite the life-saving measures by EMS and a transfer to a medical facility by airlift, the male succumbed to his injuries. His identity has not been released.

The investigation is ongoing, and the man’s intent is not known at this time. The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office is assisting with the investigation.