A tense standoff with police by a man armed with a rifle along the main thoroughfare in Nesquehoning over the lunch hour yesterday came to a peaceful end after nearly two hours when the man surrendered.

According to police, the man began hallucinating after using bath salts, a synthetic stimulant drug that reportedly compares to cocaine.

The standoff had Route 209, the busy two-lane highway that goes through the center of town, closed for about two hours, forcing traffic to be detoured over side streets.

Eventually, the man, identified as John Eremus of 209 W. Catawissa St., Nesquehoning, laid down the gun, walked to the front of the dwelling and surrendered.

As of yesterday, no charges were filed by police against Eremus. Police said he would be taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation.

The standoff occurred only a few blocks from the Nesquehoning Elementary School. As a result, the school was placed in a "lock down" mode as a precaution.

The events unfolded when an ambulance call was received at the address for an individual with an "overdose."

When police arrived at the scene, Eremus had a gun and reports said he appeared to be paranoid.

The street was closed from the intersection with Jim Thorpe National Bank two blocks down to a traffic light. Police and Nesquehoning Borough workers blocked the street and prevented motorists and pedestrians from getting near the scene.

Nesquehoning Police received assistance from municipal police in Jim Thorpe and Lehighton as well as state police. The police were armed with high-powered rifles.

It was reported that family members also were at the scene and worked at trying to talk Eremus into surrendering.