Three face charges after meth explosion

Posted: 4th April 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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EVANSVILLE — Two people are facing charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine, and a third is being treated for burns in an out-of-town hospital in the wake of an explosion and fire Friday afternoon that damaged a house at 1300 E. Sycamore St.

Firefighters and police dispatched to the 3:11 p.m. blast were told by witnesses that three people — two men and a woman — had run from the house after the explosion and that two of them had fled in a black car. The clothing of one of the men was ablaze as he came from the house, they said.

When a man with severe burns was reported seeking treatment at a hospital, officers identified him as John Jones, a resident of the house, according to the Evansville Police Department.

Officers also located the vehicle seen leaving the scene at the Timbers Apartments and interviewed a woman, Lynsey Wire, who officials say was present at the Sycamore Street house when the explosion occurred.

During questioning by officers, both Jones and Wire said a third person, Jerry Benefiel, who lives at 1228 E. Sycamore St., was also present.

Wire, questioned at the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s command post, related how the three had earlier in the day purchased pseudoephedrine tablets, camping fuel and lithium batteries to use in making methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. All three, she said, were in the house as they started the process.

According to the affidavit, Wire said she was in a bedroom, Benefiel was in the living room and Jones was in the kitchen with the meth lab when it exploded. She said she heard what sounded like water being shaken just before the explosion.

Jones came out of the kitchen with his hair burned and his shirt on fire, Wire said. He ripped off the burning shirt and threw it in the living room, which may have been responsible for causing fire damage to the house there, officials said.

Benefiel ran home after the explosion, officials said. He initially denied involvement, according to the affidavit, but when confronted with Wire’s and Jones’s statements, he admitted to being at the house.

Officers charged Benefiel with manufacturing methamphetamine, and Wire was charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

The affidavit indicated Jones, who was transferred to an out-of-town hospital for treatment, will be charged later.

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/apr/02/three-face-charges-after-meth-explosion/

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