WOOSTER — The mysterious powdery substance that two Wooster police officers were exposed to while arresting a man Thursday night contained fentanyl, police said Monday.

Wooster police on Monday morning received test results from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that the powder, which caused officers Dustin Burnett and Donald Hall to feel lightheaded and have tingling feet and slurred speech, contained fentanyl, according to a news release from the department.

“Patrolmen Hall and Burnett are doing well and have fully recovered from the exposure,” Police Chief Matt Fisher said in the release. “More so, now that we know the powder released in the police cruiser contained fentanyl, we are even more relieved that Patrolmen Hall and Burnett are OK.”

 

The officers were exposed to the powder while arresting Isaiah Haskins, 23, Thursday night in the 2500 block of Monterey Street, according to the release. Police went to 2528 Monterey St. to serve a warrant on a woman, and encountered Haskins while attempting to locate that woman. Haskins was carrying a backpack, which he gave police permission to search.

Officers found a pistol in the backpack and arrested Haskins for having weapons while under disability because he is a convicted felon, according to the release. Burnett and Hall handcuffed Haskins and placed him in the back of a cruiser, where he was able to rip open a plastic bag containing the powder, causing it to go throughout the vehicle.

“Ptl. Hall and Ptl. Burnett immediately began to exhibit strange symptoms including numbness and tingling of limbs, slurred speech and incoherent thoughts,” police said in the news release. “The officers, as well as Mr. Haskins, had all of their clothing and gear removed at the scene and were transported by squad to Wooster Community Hospital. Once at the hospital, the officers and Mr. Haskins had to be thoroughly decontaminated before receiving treatment.”

Officers from the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, where Hall previously served as director, responded to the scene in self-contained breathing apparatus gear, and gathered samples for testing as well as decontaminating the officers’ equipment. Initial testing did not conclude what the powdery substance was, according to the release.

Police sent the samples to BCI on Friday and requested a rush analysis, the result of which they received Monday morning.

“We are grateful for the assistance of everyone who helped that night including, Medway, Wooster Fire/EMS and Wooster Community Hospital,” Fisher said in the release. “We are also very thankful for the outpouring of support for these officers from our community.”