An apparent decision to swallow methamphetamine rather than be caught with the controlled substance during a traffic stop has led to the death of one Booneville man and a second one being taken to a Fort Smith hospital via helicopter.
Michael Henry, who is deceased, was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Garrett Sheppard when they were stopped at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday by Booneville Police Department officers.
It is believed Henry swallowed between two and three grams of the meth, BPD Chief Rusty Lewis said and that Sheppared swallowed the rest.
According to Lewis, because Sheppard was driving on a suspended license he was taken into custody, the vehicle was towed and Henry was permitted to walk away.
Henry was taken to Mercy Hospital at about 3 p.m., Lewis said, by individuals who did not stay at the hospital. Lewis said the staff worked with Henry until about 4:50 when he was pronounced dead.
About 10 minutes later the BPD was notified of the overdose and while attempting to locate Henry’s next of kin for a notification, Lewis said, officers learned Henry often stayed with Sheppard, who by then had been released, at his residence.
A female at the residence would tell officers she didn’t know the men well but after being told of the desperate need to see Sheppard she let officers into the residence.
Lewis said Sheppard was found in a room shaking and confirmed to officers he had swallowed meth as well. However, when told he really needed medical attention, Sheppard first declined to seek treatment.
Emergency personnel were summonsed to the residence anyway and after evaluating Sheppard took him to the hospital where he was prepped for a flight to Fort Smith.