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with the details that you have provided, it sounds like it may be either a ground, or ignition relay, but I've also encountered the same problem being the starter wire to the starter. The reason I think that is because of your dash lights coming back on .If you have use of a voltmeter you can test and see how much power is actually going to the starter An ignition relay could do the same, but usually won't interrupt the engine after it's running.
THE ENGINE IT WONT CRANK IF OVER HEATED CHECK COOLANT LEVEL IF LOW ADD COOLANT.REPLACE THERMOSTAT AND RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP.IF ENGINE STILL OVERHEAT AT A STANDSTILL OR IN A LONG LINE OF SLOW MOVING TRAFFIC.COOLANT FAN SHOULD COME ON.IF ENGINE OVERHEAT CHECK TO SEE IF COOLANT TURNS ON IF NO.CHECK COOLANT FAN FUSE AND RELAY.IFBOTH OKAY HOTWIRE COOLANT FAN TO SEE IF FAN RUNS IF NO REPLACE COOLANT FAN MOTOR. IF FAN RUNS PROBLEM COULD BE PCM OR THE COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENSOR FAULTY OR DAMAGE WIRE CONNECTOR TO COOLANT FAN.USE A CODE SCANNER TO LOOK FOR PCM OR ECT FAULTS.IF EVERY THING CHECK OUT OKAY LOOK AT ENGINE OIL DIP STICK.IF IT LOOKS LIGHT BROWN OR LIKE MILK SHAKE YOUR HEAD GASKET BLOWN.MAKE SURE YOU HAVE 50/50 ANTIFREEZE AND WATER TO ENGINE TO HELP RAISE BOILING POINT.WHEN OUTSIDE TEMPERATURES HOT.
Sounds like your 02 sensors are bad. This will cause speratic idle. Up down, up down. If it still fires a little after engine is shut off, then there is too much fuel in motor caused by faulty 02 sensors. This will also cause check engine light to turn on. The 02 sensors tell the computer how much gas to give to engine
When your check engine light comes on, the car is telling you there's a problem, but it's still okay to drive to your destination. When the check engine starts blinking at you, that means pull over and turn off the car before you incur more damage. Please keep in mind that you shouldn't be driving it indefinitely without having your code checked (you can rent a code reader from most car parts stores) but that you probably won't kill anything if you drive it for a few more days.