Taylor Woodward

Taylor Woodward, 25, of Brandon, was arrested after a traffic stop Friday night. Less than an hour later, the State Police sergeant who stopped Woodward and searched his car collapsed in the parking lot of the State Police barracks and had to be revived with Narcan. 

LEICESTER — State Police said a trooper collapsed shortly after collecting drug evidence at a traffic stop, and had to be revived with several doses of Narcan.

According to a release from State Police Spokesman Adam Silverman, on Friday at 11:25 p.m. Acting Sergeant Brett Flansburg, a trooper assigned to the New Haven barracks, stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on Leicester Whiting Road. While talking to the driver, Flansburg saw the passenger, identified by police as Taylor C. Woodward, 25, of Brandon, swallow something. Police said Woodward admitted the item he swallowed was a bag of cocaine.

The vehicle was searched. In it, Flansburg found a plastic baggie with a small amount of heroin inside, an empty plastic baggie, and a syringe. Police said Woodward was taken into custody and cited for suspicion of possessing heroin.

Flansburg was transporting the collected evidence to the New Haven Barracks when he began feeling ill, said police. He reached the barracks, called for help, then collapsed in the barracks’ parking lot. Two troopers found him and gave him two doses of Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Flansburg revived upon being given a third dose and was taken to University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. There, his condition improved and he was released.

Woodward was also taken to University of Vermont Medical Center as a precaution. He required no medical care, according to police, and was cited to appear on May 6 in Vermont Superior Court Middlebury Criminal Division to answer a charge of possession of heroin, a misdemeanor.

Police said that Colonel Matthew T. Birmingham, director of Vermont State Police, has ordered the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Narcotics Investigation Unit to investigate the incident. Tests are being done to determine what exactly caused Flansburg to collapse. The investigation is being headed up by the Commander of the Vermont State Police Criminal Division, Major Dan Trudeau.

“Being a state trooper is a dangerous and demanding job for all the reasons you’d expect: apprehending criminals, encountering volatile individuals, rushing toward emergencies rather than away,” said Birmingham in a release. “And now there is a new threat that we’re seeing up close: the risk of exposure to powerful drugs that can kill in even tiny amounts. This is so troubling and disconcerting, and it places members of law enforcement at unnecessary risk of possibly losing their lives.”

He said Flansburg is fortunate to be alive.

“Were it not for the immediate availability of Narcan and the quick actions of his fellow troopers and medical personnel, we might be speaking today about the death of a trooper in the line of duty,” he said. “I’m angry at how close we came, and relieved that the situation was no worse than it was.”

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