It all started on Monday, July 6, shortly before 1 p.m. with a driver who was not wearing a seat belt and a vehicle with a burned out brake light.
It ended about 4:30 p.m. with a potentially hazardous situation diffused by a Drug Enforcement Agency Officer who donned a Hazmat suit and retrieved a bucket filled with bottles from an SUV.
The driver was stopped by PFC Daniel Stickney in the 700 block of Telegraph Road for the seat belt violation and the equipment malfunction. A short time after the stop, the officer discovered a mobile meth-amphetamine lab in the truck. "I opened the bucket. From what I've learned in various classes, it was an active meth lab," said PFC Stickney.
He called Chief Chip Peterson who then summoned Hazmat, DEA officers, and Cecil County Director of Emergency Services Richard Brooks. Later, State HIghway crews closed the road. Volunteers from the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun stood waiting as the Hazmat-suited DEA officer retrieved the items from the truck. There was a concern that a chemical reaction could cause the bottles to erupt.
"We have Hazmat (the county's Hazmat team members) on standby. There is no reason to rush," said Director Brooks. County paramedics and the Hazmat response bus were also brought to the scene.
"I am worried about the officer's safety and the people around here. What the general public does not understand is what an officer encounters on a traffic stop," said Chief Peterson.
Chief Peterson said charges are pending upon consultation with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Office of the Cecil County State's Attorney. It was confirmed on scene that the driver, a 40, year-old male from Peach Bottom, Pa., had heroin and pills in his possession in addition to driving with the mobile meth lab in the vehicle.