Nita Johnson The Times-Tribune, Corbin, Ky.
A drug arrest on Wednesday morning placed Laurel Sheriff’s Office deputies in a dire situation after they discovered a highly dangerous drug inside one of the police cruisers.
That situation came to light after Detective Sgt. Chris Edwards and Deputy Daniel Grigsby stopped a white Ford F250 on Interstate 75, one mile north of London, around 10:44 a.m. The two individuals were found in possession of a large quantity of heroin, placed under arrest and transported to the Sheriff’s Office for processing before being taken to the jail.
But just a short time later, Grigsby responded to another complaint on Golden Eagle Drive, four miles south of London, off KY 229. When Grigsby opened the back door of the cruiser to transport a prisoner to jail, he discovered a white powdery substance in the back seat. Grigsby reportedly became dizzy and light-headed after being exposed to the substance.
A field test of the substance determined it was fentanyl, a highly dangerous drug that when inhaled or when an individual is exposed to it can cause severe health issues including death.
Further investigation revealed that the person Grigsby had transported from the I-75 drug arrest had tried to dispose of the fentanyl in Grigsby’s cruiser.
The exposure to the toxic substance necessitated decontamination procedures be conducted at the scene. Several emergency services were called to the scene, where Grigsby and his K-9 dog Edge underwent decontamination process.
According to Regional Emergency Management Director Jerry Rains, fire department personnel arrived at the scene with a tent and tarp that emergency management officials used as the decontamination area where those exposed to chemicals or other toxic substances must strip down and wash off with soap and water. Grigsby was then taken to KentuckyOne Health Saint Joseph London as a precaution to be checked out in the emergency room.
Eco-Tech was also on the scene to bag up the clothing of those exposed to the Fentanyl as well as to transport Grigsby’s cruiser for further decontamination. Jim Lewis, owner of Eco-Tech, said the clothing and other items that had been exposed to the Fentanyl would be taken for proper disposal.
“We take hazardous material to Michigan and other places – wherever they tell us to take them,” he said. “If we come across something we don’t know where to take, we call someone and find out where it needs to go.”
The two people arrested in the stop on I-75 and their charges were:
• Danny S. Johnson, 39, of Walker Branch Road in Hazard, who was the driver of the vehicle. He was charged with trafficking in controlled substance, heroin, first offense.
• Dwayne D. Canada, 24, of Redford, Michigan, was the passenger in the vehicle and was charged with trafficking in controlled substance, heroin, first offense; first-degree wanton endangerment, police officer as victim. The latter charge was added after the discovery of the Fentanyl in Grigsby’s cruiser.
Assisting at the scene of the decontamination site were Maj. Chuck Johnson, Capt. Kevin Berry, Lt. Greg Poynter, Sgt. Brett Reeves, Detective James Sizemore, Deputy Bryon Lawson and Deputy Brad Mink.
Emergency personnel assisting at the scene included Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County, Campground Volunteer Fire Department, Bush Volunteer Fire Department, Laurel County Emergency Management Director Justin Noe, Laurel County Department of Public Safety Director Brad Smith, Regional Emergency Management Director Jerry Rains, the regional Hazmat special response team Area 12 from Somerset and Kentucky State Police/Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.
©2018 The Times-Tribune (Corbin, Ky.)