Officers said they saw Hanks drink something out of a can and slump over the wheel before he lost control of his vehicle.
"It appears that he poisoned himself somehow, " he said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver stopped the auto in the middle of the northbound 101 Freeway south of Seaward Avenue in Ventura.
"He drank something he had concocted", Denharder said.
He says it was determined the man had taken a mixture of salt and potassium cyanide.
A rape suspect died after poisoning himself during a freeway chase in Southern California on Wednesday, authorities said.
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Officers had been chasing Jonathan Hanks, 33, of Camarillo, for about 10 kilometres when they saw him drink from a bottle.
Officers investigated the vehicle and found a deceased man inside, officials said. Officers said the man began driving erratically before slumping over into the passenger side of the auto and eventually coming to a stop in the middle of the northbound 101 Freeway just south of Seaward Avenue in Ventura. He was not identified.
After it stopped, the black Nissan was surrounded by fire and police vehicles, including an armoured SWAT truck. A firefighter wore a gas mask during an initial inspection of the suspect's vehicle.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a high-speed chase began in Los Angeles County and ended on Highway 101 near Seaward Avenue. The LAPD could not immediately provide additional details.
Hanks lived in Camarillo at the time of his death, according to Los Angeles police.