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Man, 72, killed and his wife wounded in knife attack at Nebraska highway rest area

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — An attempted robbery at a highway rest area in eastern Nebraska left a 72-year-old man dead and his 71-year-old wife critically injured in a knife attack Wednesday, authorities said.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to an Interstate 80 rest area shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday and found the couple both injured with knife wounds. Authorities said Gary and Mary Weaver had been traveling across Nebraska in their mobile home before the incident occurred.

Gary Nelson died at a Grand Island hospital. Mary Nelson was in critical condition Wednesday at the hospital with life-threatening injuries, authorities said. The Nelsons were from Eureka, Missouri.

The suspect fled the rest area in a vehicle before authorities arrived, but Grand Island Police Captain Dean Elliott told television station KSNB that officers were able to get a description.

The Nebraska State Patrol tried to stop a vehicle matching that description near Wood River and chased it at speeds of up to 120 mph before that vehicle exited the interstate and turned south. Elliott said the vehicle eventually drove into the Platte River. State troopers used a police dog to find the suspect and arrest him about 30 minutes later.

James Thompson Jr., 22, of Elyria, Ohio, was being held Wednesday in the Hall County Jail. He faces numerous charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, robbery and fleeing from police. Because he hasn’t appeared in court yet he doesn’t have a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

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