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Man arrested for frequenting Kansas turnpikes

SHAWNEE COUNTY (KSNT) — A man who became famous for walking with a blanket along the highways of northeast Kansas has been arrested following multiple complaints, law enforcement said.

Deputies arrested Nathaniel Simmons, 40, last week for posing a “serious traffic hazard to motorists,” according to Abigail Christian, a spokeswoman for the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office. The arrest was made following numerous calls to 911 by local residents who saw Simmons walking down the street.

Christian said that prior to this recent arrest, Simmons had been fined twice by Shawnee County deputies for illegal pedestrian use of the road. Several callers told the sheriff’s office that they nearly ran over Simmons in the street because they either didn’t see him or were forced to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting him.

Other law enforcement agencies in northeast Kansas have reported similar activity. In December, the Silver Lake Police Department posted on its social media explaining to residents that the man has declined offers of assistance and has the right to walk on the highway as long as he remains outside the white fog line. . Similarly, the Wabaunsee County Sheriff’s Office said the man may have autism and declined any help offered by law enforcement.

Simmons has been released from prison on bail following his arrest last week, a prison spokesman said.

Residents of northeastern Kansas have formed a Facebook group focused on the man’s sightings.

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