While patrolling I-70 shortly after 11 a.m., Friday, Indiana State Police Trooper Justin Geltmaker attempted to stop the driver of a pick-up that had articles falling out of the bed of the truck traveling eastbound near the 131-mile-marker.
Geltmaker activated the patrol vehicle's emergency lighting in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the driver refused to stop.
The driver exited I-70 and continued south on Wilbur Wright Road to turn around in a gas station parking lot south of I-70 before returning to I-70 westbound. As the trooper followed, Geltmaker could see the driver reaching for an unknown item.
The pick-up truck traveled off the right side of the roadway onto the emergency strip, then traveled across both westbound lanes of I-70 into the grassy median at the 129-mile-marker.
Geltmaker and ISP Senior Trooper Kris Martin rushed to the vehicle and found the driver suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The troopers called EMS personnel and administered first aid.
The driver, identified as Vance E. Smith, 41, 727 Moon Road, Plainfield, was transported to Henry County Memorial Hospital. Smith later died of his injuries. An autopsy is scheduled Saturday, and Henry County Coroner Stacy Guffey will release the cause of death after the preliminary exam.
I-70 was restricted in both directions for a short time while detectives and troopers conducted the investigation at the scene.
ISP Det. Scott Jarvis is conducting the ongoing investigation. Officials confirm no further information will be released about the investigation and no speculation will be made about why Smith took his life.
Smith has connections to the Clay County area. He was convicted for his involvement in the November 2007 robbery of the Poland First Financial Bank, and a separate bank robbery in Darlington, Ind., on Oct. 31, 2007.