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Medical condition caused police chase

Medical condition caused police chase

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CLINTON — The man in the pickup truck had been driving erratically on U.S. 51 from Decatur to Clinton on Tuesday morning.

Macon County sheriff's police couldnít get the driver to stop, despite their lights and sirens.

He wove from lane to lane, although he wasn't speeding, and he appeared to be in control of the truck, police said.

The officers radioed their DeWitt County colleagues, who put out a device used to puncture a driversí tires at the intersection of 51 and the U.S. 51 bypass on Clintonís south side.

The tires blew and stopped the truck shortly before 11 a.m., but the driver didnít respond to orders to get out of the truck.

The five Macon and DeWitt county officers drew their guns as a precaution because they didnít know who or what they were dealing with.

They slowly approached the truck and then opened the door.

They found the driver, John P. Nichols, 48, of Cisco, was virtually incoherent and in the middle of a serious medical condition called hypoglycemia — dangerously low blood sugar.

"He wouldn't follow the officers' commands, not because he didn't want to but because of a medical condition," said DeWitt County Sheriff Roger Massey.

Nichols was treated at Dr. John Warner Hospital, Clinton, and released.

"His blood sugar was 48 and he was almost in a coma," Massey said of Nichols' condition.

Clinton physician Dr. Farrukh Kureishy said someone with a blood sugar below 60 mg/dl can think and feel that they are fine and reacting correctly, but they are not.

Kureishy recommends that people with the condition have a good meal before leaving home to keep blood sugar levels in check.

"People can also wear a bracelet with an alert that tells people they are hypoglycemic," he said. Glucose tablets or orange juice also are helpful for drivers with such diabetes-related conditions, Kureishy added.

Macon County Sheriffís Department Lt. John Anderson said Nichols was issued a citation charging him with improper lane usage. "We didn't want to throw the book at a person with a medical condition," Anderson said.

Police officials said they were grateful the incident ended without injury to the driver or officers. Dealing with the emergency was instructive for officers, said Anderson.

"There were good training points for our officers," in the incident said Anderson.


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