Darke County Jail officers overcome when exposed to unknown white powder

A criminal investigation has started into an incident at the Darke County Jail that sent four corrections officers to a hospital Tuesday after they were exposed to a white, powdery substance that fell from the possession of a man who was being booked into the facility.

The four officers have been treated at Wayne Healthcare and released. The man at the center of the incident also was treated at the same hospital. He has been released to the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.

Some of the corrections officers exposed to the substance were treated with Narcan during the incident, according to a statement from the Darke County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker.

The incident began when Greenville police brought Stephen A. Garner Jr., 37, to the jail about 1 p.m. so he could be booked into the facility on a violation.

While being searched, multiple plastic baggies containing a white, powdery substance dropped from Garner's body.

He attempted to retrieve the items from the floor while corrections officers ordered him to stop, exposing himself and the officers to the substance.

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Deputies and corrections officers were able to secure Garner in a holding cell after the incident.

The corrections officers who were exposed began feeling ill, Whittaker said. Garner lapsed into unconscious and became unresponsive.

Greenville Twp. Fire and Rescue was dispatched.

The jail was locked down and out of service for approximately 2 hours during the investigation and decontamination process.

No other inmates were at risk.

Samples of the substance will be sent to the crime lab for processing and identification, Whittaker said.

Once the investigation is completed, it will be forwarded to the county prosecutor for review.

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