UPDATE (March 28, 2019 2:25 p.m.):
West Virginia State Police have released additional information as well as the name of the man who is accused of making threats against President Trump and the Pentagon, which led to I-68 being temporarily shut down on Wednesday.
The man has been identified as Eric Charron, 42, of Kansas City, Missouri.
Troopers were patrolling the area of I-68 eastbound near mile marker 28 on Wednesday at 10:25 a.m. when they observed a black sedan traveling at approximately 130 mph in a 70-mph zone. Troopers then attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, as the vehicle continued traveling eastbound at a reduced rate of speed, until it eventually pulled over near mile marker 30, according to court documents.
Troopers then made contact with the driver and identified him as Charron. Troopers asked Charron where he was headed, and he responded that he was going to the White House. Charron stated that he was running late to a dinner he was invited to by President Donald Trump, according to documents. Troopers said they did not observe any luggage in the vehicle. Charron went on to state that he had to travel to the Pentagon and meet with the leader of the Army to return a phone, according State Police.
Troopers said they asked Charron if he possessed any firearms and he told police there was a 9-millimeter handgun in the trunk of his car. Troopers then asked Charron if he possessed any explosives, to which he responded, “not a whole lot.” Troopers said they then asked Charron to exit the vehicle.
After being asked by troopers why he was transporting a firearm and explosives if he was on the way to see the president, Charron stated he wanted to give them to President Trump. Troopers said they then attempted to open the truck of Charron’s car via the remote key, but it would not open. Charron told troopers that the trunk wouldn’t open probably because he tampered with the fuses in an effort “to keep the CIA from listening to him through the radio.”
After placing Charron into handcuffs, troopers noticed Charron’s pupils to be dilatated and asked him if he had used any narcotics. Charron admitted to troopers that he had smoked methamphetamine recently, according to court documents.
Troopers then contacted the West Virginia State Police Explosive Response Team and requested them to the scene. Troopers also requested bomb-detecting K-9 handlers from the West Virginia University Police to the scene.
While waiting for assistance, Charron told troopers he left his residence in Kansas City the previous evening and had not stopped driving. Troopers entered Charron’s address into GoogleMaps and discovered the estimated travel time from his residence to their current location was 12 hours and 53 minutes, which supported Charron’s statement of driving straight through the night without stopping.
Troopers said K-9 handlers arrived on scene with three separate explosive-detecting canines, all three of which indicated the presence of explosives in Charron’s vehicle. Law enforcement conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle and located the 9-millimeter handgun, approximately 300 rounds of ammunition and an unknown weight of gunpowder in the trunk, according to court documents. Troopers said manuscripts handwritten by Charron were also located in the trunk, which contained subjects ranging from time travel, levitating watercraft and mythical creatures such as the “Chupacabra.”
Troopers said that during an interview with Charron later on, he stated that he had “special hearing” and that was how he received his invitation to the White House. Charron also stated that his “special hearing” would tell him to do bad things once he arrived at the White House or the Pentagon, troopers said. Charron further stated that his “special hearing” told him to take a trooper’s firearm from its holster while he was being transported from the traffic stop, according to court documents. Lastly, Charron stated that he has been consuming methamphetamine regularly for approximately two years, troopers said.
Charron has been charged with reckless driving and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. It is unsure at this time if Charron will be facing any future local or federal charges regarding this incident.
UPDATE (March 27, 2019 7:15 p.m.):
West Virginia State Police released new information about the incident along Interstate 68 in Preston County.
On March 27, at approximately 10:30 a.m., a trooper was driving on I-68, when he saw a black sedan with Missouri registration approach him from behind at speeds exceeding 130 mph, according to a press release. This vehicle then passed the state police cruiser, at which time the trooper made a traffic stop near mile marker 30.
According to police, the driver, who has not been named, appeared to be confused and stressed and made statements that concerned police. These statements, along with other factors, led the trooper to believe there could be an explosive device inside the vehicle, the release states.
The trooper removed the driver from the vehicle without incident. After securing the driver, police made the decision to close all lanes of I-68 in that area for safety concerns, according to the release.
Police said Explosives Response Teams from West Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police and the West Virginia University Police Department responded to the scene. Three explosives-detecting K-9s from the WVU Police Department indicated the presence of explosive materials inside the vehicle. West Virginia State Police Explosives Response Team members arrived and performed a search of the vehicle but did not find any explosive devices, according to the release. The incident remains under investigation.
Special Agents with the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Secret Service are also looking into the incident.
Authorities removed the vehicle from the scene at approximately 2:30 p.m., according to police. The interstate was closed for 3 1/2 hours.
There is no word on what charges, if any, the driver may face in the incident.
UPDATE (March 27, 2019 3:05 p.m.):
The closure on I-68 in Preston County Wednesday was due to threats that were made to kill President Donald Trump and to blow up the Pentagon, according to Captain Shallon Oglesby of the West Virginia State Police.
Oglesby said a search of the vehicle revealed a firearm and an explosive powder. A 42-year-old man has been detained for questioning, Oglesby said.
West Virginia State Police, in conjunction with the FBI and Secret Service, is continuing to investigate this incident, according to Oglesby.
The interstate was reopened at about 2:30 p.m.
UPDATE (March 27, 2019 2:35 p.m.):
As of 2:32 p.m. both eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 68 have been reopened.
Law enforcement has still not released any further details on the reason for Wednesday’s closure.
UPDATE (March 27, 2019 2:21 p.m.):
The westbound lanes of Interstate 68 reopened around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday. The eastbound lanes remain closed, according to Preston County 911 officials.
ORIGINAL (March 27, 2019 11:15 a.m.)
“Police activity“ has Interstate 68 closed in both directions near the Maryland border, in Preston County, according to 911 officials.
State Police Captain Shallon Oglesby said that the shutdown came after a routine traffic stop at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday for speeding along the eastbound lanes.
The trooper determined that the stop would require an “in-depth investigation“ leading to the shutdown, Oglesby said.
The closure in the eastbound lanes is at mile marker 23, which is the Bruceton Mills exit, according to WV 511. The westbound lanes are closed in Maryland, with detours set up at exits 14(Uniontown-U.S. Route 40 West/Oakland-U.S. Route 219 South) and exit 4 (Friendsville), according to Maryland State Police. All trucks must exit at exit 14, Maryland state troopers said.
Eastbound traffic is being diverted off the interstate at the Bruceton Mills exit. Traffic between the Bruceton Mills exit and the Hazelton exit is being turned through the median onto I-68 westbound.
It is unknown how long the interstate will be closed, 911 officials said, but drivers should expect long delays, according to WV 511. Eastbound drivers in particular should expect a one to two hour delay, as of 11:45 a.m., WV 511 said. Drivers are advised to take alternate routes, Maryland State Police said.
The West Virginia State Police are handling the incident. No details have been released on what the incident is, but it has nothing to do with the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton, according to Preston County 911 officials.
A 12 News reporter arrived on the scene and was turned back by law enforcement, without releasing further details.