Officer recovering after unexplained collapse

Acting Sgt. Brett Flansburg of the Vermont State Police appears in his official department photo taken in fall 2017.

LEICESTER — A Vermont state trooper is recovering after he collapsed following a traffic stop in Leicester this past Saturday from an apparent incident from contacting a drug. He was revived by multiple doses of Narcan.

The incident began at about 11:25 p.m. Friday, March 15, when Acting Sgt. Brett Flansburg of the New Haven Barracks stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on Leicester-Whiting Road in the town of Leicester. While speaking with the driver, Sgt. Flansburg observed the passenger swallow an item. The passenger, later identified as Taylor C. Woodward, 25, of Brandon, admitted the item was a baggie of cocaine.

During a subsequent search of the passenger and the vehicle, Sgt. Flansburg located and collected as evidence a small quantity of heroin in a baggie, an empty plastic baggie and a syringe. Woodward was taken into custody by other troopers on the scene and cited for suspicion of possessing heroin.

While transporting the evidence to the New Haven Barracks, Sgt. Flansburg began to feel ill. When he arrived at the barracks, he called for help and collapsed in the parking lot.

Fellow troopers found him unresponsive and rapidly administered two doses of the opiate overdose reversal drug Narcan. The sergeant received a third dose of Narcan while being rushed to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, and he began to show signs of improvement. At the hospital, Sgt. Flansburg received additional medical treatment and later was released.

As a precaution, Woodward was brought separately to UVMMC to be checked out and was determined to require no medical care. He was cited to appear May 6, in Vermont Superior Court, Criminal Division, in Middlebury to answer a misdemeanor charge of possession of heroin.

Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police, instructed VSP’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Narcotics Investigation Unit to conduct a full investigation of the incident. Testing is underway to determine the substance to which Sgt. Flansburg was exposed. The investigation is being led by Maj. Dan Trudeau, commander of VSP’s Criminal Division.

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