HMN-State troopers pulled a man from the front seat of his Jeep Cherokee as he was allegedly attempting suicide; by using chemicals.
LAFAYETTE, N.Y. — A Cicero man tried to kill himself early Monday by mixing chemicals in the front seat of his vehicle and parking along Interstate 81 between Tully and LaFayette, state police said.
Phillip Roundy, 53, was pulled from his Jeep Cherokee by two troopers after a passerby called 911 concerned about a vehicle in the median with its headlights on at 3:34 a.m., state police spokesman Trooper Jack Keller said.
Police closed all four lanes of I-81 between LaFayette and Tully for nearly 10 hours as they dealt with the toxic materials in the vehicle, police said.
Troopers Corey Fike and Dennis Carbone, of the state police barracks in LaFayette, arrived at the median to find Roundy unconscious in the vehicle, Keller said.
The troopers used a tool to break the windows, but they didn’t break completely so they punched through the glass with their elbows and fists so they could unlock the door, Keller said.
Fike and Carbone could smell chemicals, saw something containing liquid on the passenger’s seat and found a note on the driver’s seat that said poison gas, Keller said.
The troopers immediately called for help.
Firefighters didn’t know what type of chemicals were in the vehicle or what danger they posed so authorities decided to close the highway, Keller said.
Roundy and both troopers were taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse for treatment because they were exposed to the chemicals.
Roundy remained unconscious throughout the day Monday, Keller said. He was in serious condition Monday evening, he said.
Carbone was treated for glass particles in his eyes and an injury to his wrist caused when he punched the window, police said. Fike was treated for injuries to his shoulders and wrist, police said.
Both troopers have been released from the hospital, Keller said.
All four lanes of I-81 between LaFayette and Tully remained closed from around 3:30 a.m. until shortly after 1 p.m. The state police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team determined the chemicals in the vehicle were not dangerous to anyone outside of the vehicle, Keller said.
Troopers do not know why Roundy stopped in the I-81 median or why he was in LaFayette early Monday. A note Roundy left said he was trying to kill himself and there were chemicals in the vehicle, Keller said.
State police say Roundy poured an acid into other chemicals to create a chemical reaction that could have killed him if he remained in the vehicle.
“These chemicals are dangerous if you’re inside the vehicle, but not if you’re outside,” Keller said. “We used special chemicals to dilute (the mixture in the Jeep) and determine what chemical reaction we had.”
The LaFayette Fire Department, Syracuse Fire Department and its Hazardous Materials team, TLC Ambulance, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, state Department of Transportation (DOT) and state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) assisted at the scene.
“He knew what he was doing,” Keller said. “It is a chemical suicide.”
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