County man burned in meth lab explosion

Posted: 15th May 2012 by Doc in Uncategorized
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A man was seriously injured early Saturday morning when a clandestine methamphetamine lab exploded at a Sciota Road residence. The incident was the second meth lab discovered in Carter County in two days. Another meth lab was located on Broad Street Extension on Friday morning when deputies attempted to serve an arrest warrant.

A meth lab fire destroyed two structures and seriously injured a man in the Sciota community early Saturday morning. The Carter County Sheriff’s Department had already discovered another meth lab on Broad Street Extension on Friday.

Capt. Tom Smith of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department said officers were dispatched to 211 Sciota Road around 1:30 a.m. Saturday on the report of an explosion and fire. Smith said there was some confusion about the incident as a family member attempted to take the injured individual to the hospital.

Members of the Carter County Rescue Squad were called to the area and transported Jeremiah Hopson, 34, to the Johnson City Medical Center for treatment. Hopson suffered extensive third-degree burns to his face, chest and arms. Smith said he believes Hopson was then taken by helicopter to the Burn Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. Investigating officers were called to the scene, where the methamphetamine lab appeared to explode in an outbuilding. Although some evidence was destroyed when the meth lab exploded, Smith said officers located what appeared to be remnants of previous methamphetamine cooks.

When the meth lab exploded in the outbuilding, it also destroyed a second nearby building. It also caused some damage to the mobile home, melting siding closest to the outbuildings. Hopson’s wife was inside the home at the time. An 11-year-old child, who lives at the home, was not present. No additional injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force was called to the scene and assisted in the cleanup.

Warrants have been written for Hopson’s arrests. The warrants charge the man with initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and felony and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession. Hopson also faces a charge of felony reckless endangerment, because the explosion occurred a short distance from the mobile home where the woman was located at the time.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing and Smith said additional charges are pending. The Department of Children’s Services is also being contacted regarding the incident.

Sgt. Michael Bean was the original patrol officer to respond to the scene, Smith said. Early Friday morning, Sheriff Chris Mathes said officers located another methamphetamine lab when attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Deputy Nick Andes and Sgt. Derrick Hamm went to 1357 Broad Street Ext., Elizabethton, at 1 a.m. Friday in an effort to find Leslie Dawn Coleman, 39, who was wanted on a warrant for a violation of probation. When they arrived at the property they saw three people in an outbuilding beside the residence.

While looking in the window, Andes said he observed Coleman and two men, identified as Dustin Wayne Wood, 19, of 272 Broyles Lane, Bristol, and Mark Alan Stover, 23, of 401 Peters Hollow Road, Elizabethton. Andes said Stover was holding a full syringe of what appeared to be a clear liquid.

The officers shouted through the window for the three to stop what they were doing and come to the door. Stover allegedly responded by squirting the liquid in the syringe onto the floor and dropping the syringe.

Andes said he met the three individuals at the door and immediately detained them. While inside the building, Andes said officers observed items that are commonly used for the initiation of methamphetamine manufacture, including two bottles used for gassers, Morton rock salt, lantern fuel and drain cleaner. There were also syringes and other drug paraphernalia.

After the initial investigation, it was discovered the residence was located beside a daycare facility operated by Lynn Valley Baptist Church.

All three individuals were decontaminated and transported to the Carter County Jail where they face multiple charges.

Each of the arrested individuals have been charged with initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, violation of a drug free school zone and possession of drug paraphernalia. Coleman was also charged with the original violation of probation. Stover was also charged with failure to appear on a previous charge.

Sheriff Chris Mathes said the Elizabethton Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration came to the scene to assist deputies. “I appreciate the help they provided,” said Mathes, who added that some of his narcotics officers were not available at the time.


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