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2 Wooster officers sent to the hospital after suspect exposes them to mysterious powder

Officers felt light-headed, had slurred speech
Posted at 3:27 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 19:12:56-04

WOOSTER, Ohio — Two Wooster police officers had to be treated for some scary symptoms after being exposed to a mysterious powder inside their cruiser while arresting a man Thursday night.

Around 8 p.m. Thursday, police went to a home on Monterey Street, looking for a woman who had a warrant. Instead, police say, Isaiah Haskins, 23, came up from the basement with a backpack. Officers got permission to search it, found a gun, and arrested Haskins for having a weapon under disability.

After Haskins got into the police cruiser, police say he ripped open a baggie from the back of his pants, sending the unknown powder flying all over the inside of the cruiser and onto the officers' clothes. The veteran officers, Dustin Burnett and Donald Hall, began to experience some scary symptoms: they felt light-headed, had tingling feet and slurred speech.

"It's always scary,” Wooster Police Chief Matthew Fisher said. “We never know in this job. You never know what you're going to encounter, and a situation like this is absolutely scary because had it been true fentanyl, the amount that he released in that car could have been lethal for these two officers."

Both officers had to be hosed down with water, and all of their equipment was decontaminated. They were treated at a hospital and are doing okay, police said.

The police chief estimates it will cost at least a $1,000 to decontaminate the vehicle, and the department plans to go after the suspect to pay back that bill.

Haskins is facing several charges, including possession of drugs and assault.

The powder was tested, but it does not appear to be fentanyl, cocaine or heroin. Wooster police are now asking the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations to test it.

"This may be something we've never seen before,” Fisher said.