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Rape suspect drinks poison and dies during freeway chase in Ventura County, CHP says

Rape suspect drinks poison and dies during freeway chase in Ventura County, CHP says
A rape suspect died of "self-inflicted poisoning" while fleeing from the California Highway Patrol in Ventura County on Wednesday morning, authorities said. (KTLA-TV Channel 5)

A sexual assault suspect killed himself by drinking poison during a police chase on the 101 Freeway in Ventura County early Wednesday, authorities said.

The suspect, who was not identified, was pronounced dead shortly before 8 a.m. after his vehicle veered into the center divider of the freeway and came to a stop near the Seaward Avenue exit, according to Officer Kevin Denharder, public information officer for the California Highway Patrol in Ventura County.

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Los Angeles police contacted the CHP around 7:30 a.m. to alert them that undercover officers were following a rape suspect in a black Nissan Versa, according to Denharder. The suspect was spotted by CHP officers headed north on the 101 near the Oxnard Boulevard exit, Denharder said.

Officers tried to pull the driver over, but he ignored their commands, Denharder said.

The vehicle then began to drift, veering left across all three lanes of the highway before striking the center divider, according to Denharder.

Initial reports that the suspect had shot himself or shot at CHP officers were inaccurate, according to Denharder, who said police discovered a liquid in the car and determined that the suspect had died of "self-inflicted poisoning."

"He drank something he had concocted," Denharder said.

It was not immediately clear what the liquid was. Officer Rosario Herrera, a Los Angeles police spokeswoman, said the suspect was a 33-year-old man wanted for a sexual assault that happened in the West Valley in early January.

Detectives attempted to serve a warrant at the man's home in Camarillo early Wednesday when they saw him drive away and contacted the CHP, according to Herrera.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.

UPDATES:

12:05 p.m.: This article was updated with information from a Los Angeles police spokeswoman.

This article first published at 10:20 a.m.

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