пятница, 2 марта 2012 г.

Man rescued from chemical suicide attempt pleads guilty

A 41-year-old Ligonier Township man who attempted suicide in apublic parking lot in Somerset County last January by mixinghousehold cleaners pleaded guilty to reduced charges this week.

Two counts of recklessly endangering were withdrawn on Tuesdayagainst Glen A. Gill of Gravel Hill Road before a preliminaryhearing scheduled before District Judge Arthur Cook.

The complaints were withdrawn against Gill by county prosecutorsafter Gill paid more than $3,800 in restitution to the Somerset FireDepartment hazardous materials team for the chemical cleanuprequired following the 8:24 a.m. incident on Jan. 15, authoritiessaid.

Gill subsequently pleaded guilty to a nontraffic citation ofdisorderly conduct and will have to pay $438 in fines and courtcosts.

Gill was charged by Somerset police after he attempted suicide inthe lot of the state Department of Public Welfare office onStaybrook Street in Somerset.

Two Somerset police officers who rescued Gill had to be treatedat Somerset Hospital for chemical exposure and were released.

When officers Jason M. Ponczek and Clifford Pile arrived, theyspotted handwritten signs on the windows of Gill's silver 2006Chevrolet Silverado pickup, according to a police affidavit. "DO NOTENTER. CALL HAZMAT. HYDROGEN SULFIDE INSIDE," the signs said.

Gill, who was holding a jug of some unknown chemical mixture, wasstanding outside the truck, Ponczek wrote in the affidavit. Bothofficers detected "a rotten egg-type smell" that both could taste inthe air.

"Gill did voluntarily say he mixed household cleaners together tomake hydrogen sulfide," Ponczek wrote in the affidavit.

Gill apparently was using a method called "detergent suicide,"where common cleaning materials are mixed into a deadly concoction.

U.S. officials were concerned in 2008 that detergent suicideswould spread here after about 500 Japanese citizens took their livesfollowing instructions posted on an Internet website. However, theCenters for Disease Controls officials have said such attempts arerare and the agency does not compile statistics on it.

According to published reports, there have been at least threesimilar cases in Pennsylvania -- one each last March in Bucks andLehigh counties, and another last fall in Chester County.

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