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Half-dozen ill at Elliot Hospital after police struggle with man over bag of powder

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 16. 2017 3:26PM
Six people fell ill Thursday morning at Elliot Hospital after a man brought to the emergency room ripped open a bag and an unknown powder escaped. (UNION LEADER FILE)


MANCHESTER — Six people fell ill Thursday at Elliot Hospital after a bag of white powder ripped open as a city man under arrest struggled with police over the bag, authorities said.

Theodore Macenas, 26, of Manchester, appeared to be under the influence of drugs during the booking process on a domestic charge and he requested medical treatment, police said.

A Manchester officer stood by Macenas while he waited for treatment at the hospital. When Macenas was taken to the bathroom around 9:30 a.m., the officer realized Macenas had drugs concealed inside his body, police said.

“The officer struggled with Macenas as he attempted to swallow the unknown powdery substance,” police said in a statement. “The struggle caused a tear in the plastic bag, which caused the powdery substance to contaminate the floor of the bathroom and the adjacent hallway. A second officer assigned to the hospital detail helped the officer subdue the combative man.”

Officers had located 12 Diazepam pills inside Macenas’ pockets during a search connected with his initial arrest at 3:45 a.m. after his girlfriend said he struck her in the parking lot of the McDonald’s restaurant on South Willow Street, police said.

At the hospital, firefighters in hazardous materials suits decontaminated the affected bathroom and an adjacent hallway, authorities said.

“We treated it as possible heroin or fentanyl,” said District Fire Chief Jim Michael.

The six people who complained of nausea and other symptoms were two police officers, a nurse, a doctor, a security guard and a student, Michael said.

Hospital spokesman Susanna Fier said the six complained of not feeling well, with symptoms including headaches, nausea, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat.

All six were “feeling a lot better” by late morning, she said.

“The emergency room is open and the situation is contained,” she said.

Police said Thursday afternoon the exposed people had been released from the hospital.

The state lab is testing the powdery substance to determine its content.

Macenas was charged with the original domestic simple assault as well as possession of a controlled drug, falsifying physical evidence and three counts of possession of a controlled drug from the hospital incident, police said.</em

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