A Las Vegas man cut his own throat in a bean field Friday after having fled the scene of a three-vehicle crash near Pleasant Dale.
A Seward County deputy sheriff responded at 7:30 p.m. to the crash, which happened in a construction zone on Interstate 80 near the Pleasant Dale exit.
The deputy gathered the driver's licenses and went to his car to check records and for warrants.
When he returned to interview those involved, one of the other drivers told him the man from Las Vegas had walked off with a backpack, crossed a fence and headed out into a farm field on the north side of the highway, Sheriff Joe Yocum said.
A short time later, Deputy Sheriff Nathen Gortemaker and Sgt. Mike Vance found the man on the ground with self-inflicted wounds to his abdomen and throat, Yocum said. They also found a utility knife about 12 feet away.
Yocum said deputies used a pair of pants from the man’s bag to compress the wound on his neck and rolled him onto his side to prevent him from choking on his blood.
“Emergency medical personnel at the scene … and the doctors are saying this guy could have easily gone the other way. But the action on the part of the deputies probably saved his life,” Yocum said.
The man was flown by StarCare Air Ambulance to a Lincoln hospital, underwent surgery, and was recovering Monday, Yocum said. Authorities were reviewing the possibility of putting him into protective custody.
When deputies first found the man, Yocum said, it was unclear whether another person could have inflicted the wounds. To be safe, authorities began asking area residents to lock their cars and doors, as well as to remain inside.
Deputies found no outstanding warrants for the man’s arrest, and other than the accident, Yocum could think of no trigger for him to run.
A report on the accident was not available Monday, and it was unclear how the crash happened or who was at fault.