updated 3/22/2006 2:10:12 PM ET 2006-03-22T19:10:12

A man running from a routine traffic stop early Tuesday sank waist-deep in mud and apparently died of exhaustion and cold while authorities tried to pull him out.

Deputies stopped Shawn E. Leflore, 33, for having an outdated registration sticker, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Don Peritz.

“He thought he was wanted. That is why he ran,” Peritz said. “But it turns out he wasn’t wanted for anything, except his driver’s license was expired.”

Leflore ran about 700 yards off the road when he encountered the mud, Peritz said. The weather was windy, and temperatures were in the upper 30s in the dark field, which had been saturated by heavy rain.

Deputies searched about an hour before finding him. They called for help and tried for another hour to pull him out, but the man died, Peritz said.

Peritz said officials believe Leflore suffered from exhaustion and exposure. Toxicology results were pending.

A passenger in Leflore’s vehicle was not injured.

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