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Man who killed self during traffic stop was former Sullivan corrections officer

Wes Bunch • Jul 4, 2013 at 5:20 PM

GATE CITY — A former Sullivan County corrections officer who was arrested for DUI twice in a single day last week reportedly shot and killed himself during a traffic stop Wednesday morning in Scott County.

The Scott County Sheriff's Office identified the man who shot himself as Jeffery R. Mathes, 51.

Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said Mathes was wanted at the time of the shooting on four felony charges stemming from allegations he used handcuffs to hold a woman and her daughter against their will Tuesday night at an area residence.

Puckett said officers found seven long guns, two hand guns and several rounds of ammunition in Mathes' Jeep after the shooting.

Mathes was first arrested for DUI by Gate City police last Friday after his blood alcohol levels allegedly measured .16, twice the legal limit in Virginia.

Mathes was booked into the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield before being released on bond to a family member later that evening.

About an hour after his release, a deputy with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reportedly pulled Mathes over on Wadlow Gap Road.

He was again charged with DUI and arrested.

Mathes was fired from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office the day after his arrests, a sheriff's office spokeswoman confirmed.

According to Scott County authorities, officers began looking for an orange Jeep Mathes was driving on Tuesday evening after they received reports that he was armed and was holding a woman and her daughter against their will.

A Scott County deputy reportedly spotted the Jeep around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning on an unpaved section of High Knob Road and attempted to stop it.

As the officer approached the vehicle, Puckett said Mathes turned a gun on himself and fired.

"(Mathes) saw it was a police officer and stopped his vehicle in the road about 50 yards in front of the officer," Puckett said. "Whenever the officer started walking towards the vehicle he heard a single gunshot."

Rescue crews pronounced Mathes dead at the scene. The two women he allegedly held against their will were not with Mathes when officers located him. Their whereabouts were not immediately known Wednesday night.

Puckett said the incident is still under investigation by the sheriff's office.

Click here for an earlier version of this story.

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