Updated: 05/22/2014 09:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Driver with 'device' strapped on his head held in Australia

A truck driver caused traffic chaos in Melbourne on Thursday by speeding the wrong way down a freeway with what was feared to be an explosive device strapped to his head, police said.


Driver with 'device' strapped on his head held in Australia

In this file photo, traffic is seen coming to a standstill on the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne, on March 19, 2011 - by Paul Crock

Police responded to a breakdown call at 4:00 am (1800 GMT Wednesday) on the Monash Freeway in the Australian city and found the 35-year-old, who refused to cooperate.

"Police then observed what appeared to be a suspicious device strapped to this male so we backed right off and tried to negotiate with the male," Senior Sergeant Martin Bourke said. "The device was around his head." 

The man then drove off at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) before doing a U-turn into oncoming traffic and continuing his journey.

About 50 police officers, including the bomb squad, responded to the incident with the freeway closed for three hours during peak hour.

When the man finally stopped, a 10-minute standoff ensued before he stripped naked, removed the device and surrendered.

The bomb squad later confirmed the device was not explosive, but police would not say what it was.

"If we'd had trucks going 100 kph in each direction colliding, that would have caused some major, major issues, we probably would have had some fatalities on our hands today," said Bourke.

He said the man, who appeared to have a mental condition, was arrested and was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

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