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Man's "toxic handshake" fells police officer, bailiff and prosecutor

January 12, 2006
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Man's "toxic handshake" fells police officer, bailiff and prosecutor

The Associated Press

LANSING, Michigan -- A man was jailed on assault charges after a prosecutor, police officer and courtroom bailiff became seriously ill after shaking hands with him.

During a December 21 court appearance on a traffic charge, John Ridgeway pulled out a vial of liquid, rubbed his hands with the contents and insisted on shaking hands with the three people, authorities said.

All of them got sick within an hour, suffering from nausea, headaches, numbness and tingling that lasted about a day. Two sought treatment at a hospital.

The FBI was running tests on the substance.

Ridgeway, 41, told officials the vial contained olive oil, according to prosecutor Keith Kushion. He was not the prosecutor who fell ill.

"I have never seen the likes of this," Kushion said. "Nobody else has, either."

Neither Ridgeway nor his attorney immediately returned calls for comment.

Ridgeway could get up to six years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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