Mystery Device Explodes at Traffic Stop, Covering Fla. Deputy in White Powder

April 9, 2024
A Putnam County sheriff's deputy was searching a pickup during a traffic stop in Palatka when an unknown item exploded and covered the deputy with a chlorine-based powdery substance.

A traffic stop escalated to a toxic materials scare when a mysterious device exploded in a pickup truck, covering a deputy with white powder, according to investigators in Florida.

The surrounding block was closed to traffic and the deputy was hospitalized and released, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said in an April 8 news release.

Details of any injuries suffered by the deputy have not been reported.

Investigators determined the powder was a chlorine-based substance, officials say.

The traffic stop happened Friday, April 5, in Palatka, about a 60-mile drive south from Jacksonville.

“During the search, the deputy found drug paraphernalia and a firearm when an item exploded, covering the deputy in a white, powdery substance,” the sheriff’s office said.

“The deputy was able to place (the suspect) in custody as other deputies arrived on scene. ... Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the community, the block where the vehicle was located was closed.”

A hazardous materials team, the state fire marshal’s office and a bomb squad were summoned, officials said. The bomb squad continued searching the pickup and did not find other explosives, officials said.

The 60-year-old driver was found to be in possession of two pistol magazines and a suppressor (silencer) “without any serial numbers or markings,” the sheriff’s office said.

He has been charged with possession of an explosive, aggravated battery on law enforcement “and a weapons offense for having a firearm during a felony,” officials said.

The driver is from Crescent City, about a 25-mile drive southeast from Palatka.


©2024 The Charlotte Observer.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sponsored Recommendations

Build Your Real-Time Crime Center

March 19, 2024
A checklist for success

Whitepaper: A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

July 28, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge

A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

June 6, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge.

Listen to Real-Time Emergency 911 Calls in the Field

Feb. 8, 2023
Discover advanced technology that allows officers in the field to listen to emergency calls from their vehicles in real time and immediately identify the precise location of the...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Officer, create an account today!