Motorists on Platte County’s most traveled interstate experienced a major disruption to start the holiday season.
An early morning report on Friday, Dec. 23 of a man pointing or waving a gun at vehicles eventually led to a standoff of more than four hours that eventually shut all lanes of traffic down from Camden Point, Mo. to Dearborn, Mo. Khrurshed Haydarov ended up surrendering to law enforcement shortly after 1 p.m. with no injuries reported.
The following day, the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office filed a felony charge of making a terroristic threat. Court documents show the suspect was found with a pellet gun that had the orange safety tip removed but no other weapons.
“It could have been a lot worse,” said Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). “We obviously don’t know what his intent was, but anytime somebody is pointing a (gun) in the direction of anybody, it could be a catastrophic situation. But again, we’re glad it came to a peaceful conclusion.”
The first report came in at around 8:30 a.m. to the Platte County Sheriff’s Office of a truck driver with a weapon at the rest area along the northbound lanes between Camden Point and Dearborn.
By 9:30 a.m., MSHP and Platte County Sheriff’s Office had shut down entrance into the rest area before closing down northbound I-29 lanes at about 10 a.m. Traffic was diverted to Highway 371, and with Christmas Eve the following day, the backup quickly stretched well to the south of the Camden Point exit.
It was unknown if there were hostages so the Platte County Tactical Team along with a negotiator attempted to contact the suspect, later identified as Haydarov. All civilians that were at the rest area were evacuated through an armored police vehicle and taken to the Trex Mart gas station in Camden Point.
Residents within a mile of the rest area were told to stay indoors and take shelter in an interior room of a building away from windows.
As officers attempted to reroute southbound traffic along Highway 371 from the Dearborn exit, a reported six-vehicle accident just to the north caused further backup. Emergency personnel were quickly able to clear the scene, but all southbound lanes also remained closed due to the police presence at the rest area.
Eventually, the congestion became so bad that authorities urged motorists to reroute to Highway 169 or even Interstate 35 to the east. As the standoff stretched past noon, motorists in St. Joseph were sent east or west on Highway 36 rather than being allowed to add to the I-29 backup.
According to an MSHP spokesperson, police had a hard time identifying the man since he was holed up in the vehicle and refused to communicate. Eventually, the situation was isolated to one of the four tractor trailers parked at the rest area.
At around 1 p.m. Haydarov finally peacefully surrendered to police. Traffic was reopened on both sides of I-29 shortly after the surrender.
No injuries were reported and no shots were fired, according to the MSHP.