Man dies after apparently poisoning himself during police chase

Posted at 6:40 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 18:41:03-05

VENTURA, Calif. – A California motorist who led officers on a pursuit was found dead in his vehicle Wednesday morning, apparently after ingesting some type of poison, the California Highway Patrol said.

A suspect was found dead in a vehicle after a pursuit ended in Ventura on Feb. 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

A suspect was found dead in a vehicle after a pursuit ended in Ventura on Feb. 21, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

The suspect, who was being sought by the Los Angeles Police Department as a "possible rapist," was first spotted driving on the northbound 101 in Oxnard, according to CHP Officer Kevin Denharder.

CHP pursued him into Ventura until he pulled over to the right shoulder just north of Seaward Avenue, he said. Then, the man's car appeared to drift across all lanes of the northbound 101 Freeway until it ended up in the center divider.

Officers approached the stopped vehicle and thought the driver had been shot, but soon realized no weapons had been fired, either by CHP or the suspect, according to Denharder. Instead, investigators believe he took some kind of poison.

"He drank something he had concocted," Denharder told the Los Angeles Times.

A liquid was found in the vehicle, according to the newspaper. Police believe the suspect died of "self-inflicted poisoning."

The discovery of the deceased man came about 9:45 a.m., more than two hours after LAPD contacted CHP to alert them about the suspect, the Ventura County Star reported.

Authorities have not identified the suspect, nor did they release any more details about the incident.

The Nos. 1 and 2 northbound lanes have been shut down while CHP investigates, leaving only one lane open on that side of the highway. It was unclear how long the lane closures would last.