Traffic stop sends Rifle police officers to hospital |

Traffic stop sends Rifle police officers to hospital

Lester Hays
Courtesy Garfield County Sheriff

A traffic stop earlier this week in Rifle sent two police officers to Grand River Hospital after being exposed to suspected methamphetamine, according to police reports.

The suspects in the case, Lester Hays and Laura Ebbs, have been charged with multiple felonies, including unlawful possession and distribution of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the arrest affidavit, Ebbs, 36, attempted to dispose of methamphetamine while in the back of a patrol car.

The traffic stop occurred on July 16 just before midnight, when Hays was observed making what officers believed to be an illegal drug transaction on West Centennial Parkway. Officers learned Hays’ license was suspended and pulled him over.

The officer observed that Hays, 49, and his female passenger, Laura Ebbs, were acting nervously, according to the affidavit.

Hays reportedly denied that his license was suspended and provided the officer with a Colorado identification card with a hole punched through it.

Officers arrested Hays and found drugs on his person.

After arguing with officers, Ebbs was removed from the vehicle shortly thereafter and during a pat search officers found a plastic container that officers believed to contain methamphetamine, states the affidavit.

Once Ebbs was in custody, officers returned to the vehicle to conduct an additional search for contraband. They discovered multiple syringes, syringe caps, empty vials, a digital scale, a glass pipe in the passenger door pocket and a glass pipe on the passenger floor board, the affidavit states.

Two additional plastic prescription medication bottles were located containing a clear liquid, some of which spilled onto one of the officer’s gloved hand.

When the officer returned to his vehicle, he observed a crystalline powder in the air in the rear of the vehicle where Ebbs was sitting.

The officers removed her from his vehicle.

Once Ebbs was removed, one of the officers located a baggie on the floor board and a large crystal of what appeared to be methamphetamine on the seat. Ebbs also reportedly appeared to be covered with crystalline powder that became airborne during the search.

One of the officers said he began to feel hot and sweaty and walked to the edge of the road where he collapsed.

Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and the officers and suspects were transported to Grand River Hospital for possible methamphetamine contamination.

The suspect vehicle and patrol car were both sealed and transported to Rifle impound lot pending hazardous material decontamination and cleanup, the affidavit states.

Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein said both of the officers were treated and released from GRH the next morning.

He added that Colorado River Fire Rescue and members of the inter-agency Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team assisted in recovering evidence and decontaminating the vehicle.

Hays remained in the Garfield County Jail on Wednesday on $5,000 bond, while Ebbs was being held on $1,500 bond.

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