Travelers endure hours-long standstill on I-29 during standoff between police, rifle-pointing trucker

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DEARBORN, Mo. -- A truck driver with a rifle halted holiday traffic for hours on Friday, forcing authorities to evacuate a rest stop full of travelers. Police, state troopers, and sheriff's deputies all swarmed the popular I-29 rest stop Friday morning.

The stop is about 20 miles south of St. Joseph, and both north and southbound lanes were shut down and traffic slowly diverted, with backups for miles. Eventually, the rest stop standoff came to a peaceful end, after authorities say a truck driver pointed a rifle at people from the cab of his truck.

"The guy wasn’t 50 feet from me. Had a rifle," Brian Guile said, who had stopped for a bathroom break.

"And I was parked two spots down from that truck, that's a little nerve racking now that I think about that.”

Most of the people at the rest stop didn't realize the danger they were in -- like Brendan Willoughby and his family, who stopped at the rest stop on their drive from Kentucky to Idaho. They were asleep in their camper when an officer banged on the door, and told them to get out.

"They had a line, like an alley made with police vehicles from our camper. They just told us to stay in between the police vehicles and that's what we did,” he described. "And they said there was probably 20 cop cars and SUVs and box trucks. They were well ready for whatever situation was about to happen.”

“There was no response from him at all. The tactical devices that were deployed, the flash bang, we hit the truck a few times with an armored vehicle and there was never a response from him whatsoever," said Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen. “Until we went to a tactical move at the end, and he decided it was in his best interest rapidly.”

More than four hours after it began, Willoughby and his family were able to get back to their truck, and get back on the road.

“That's why I will never live in a big city or where there is a lot of people, there is too many crazies. I like it small and simple,” he said.

The name of the truck driver has not been released, but the truck is registered to Trucking Experts LLC in Markham, Illinois. FOX 4 called the trucking company, a woman simply said "no comment" and hung up.