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INGLIS — A routine traffic stop turned deadly Thursday evening when the driver, a 30-year-old Dunnellon man, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Levy County Road 337, about 5 miles south of C.R. 121.
A State Department of Agriculture enforcement officer stopped a white pickup truck in the Goethe State Forest after 6 p.m., Levy County Sheriff Johnny Smith and Sheriff’s Maj. Evan Sullivan said on Friday.
Officer Paul Langford asked the driver for his paperwork and whether there were any outstanding warrants or charges, or if he had anything illegal in his vehicle. “He said there might be something,” Smith said.
As Langford returned to his vehicle to do a records check, the driver sped off and the officer followed. During the chase, Langford noticed the driver reaching across the seat, Sullivan said.
When the truck veered off the road and stopped, the driver did not get out of the vehicle. Langford called for backup, and the Inglis Police Department and Levy Sheriff’s Office responded.
When officers approached the vehicle, they found the driver dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The man’s name was withheld as the next of kin had not been notified, Sullivan said. There was an outstanding warrant for child support from Marion County.