The Newton County Sheriff's Department has reported that the death of a 21-year-old man who ran into traffic Thursday night on Interstate 44 is believed to have been a suicide.

Sheriff Chris Jennings said Brayden Hardee, of Springfield, died about 11:45 p.m. near the 6.4-mile marker of I-44 in Joplin.

Jennings said Hardee had been taken to Mercy Hospital Joplin by family members concerned with suicidal comments he had been making. The sheriff said Hardee became agitated upon arrival at the hospital and ran toward the interstate.

Witnesses told the sheriff's office that he appeared to have run intentionally into the path of a truck driven by a man from Iowa. He was struck a second time by a passenger car.

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