03/02/2001

Man critical after swallowing cocaine during police traffic stop

Dani Davies, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A man who may have devoured up to an ounce of cocaine as police tried to pull him over for running a stop sign early Thursday is in critical condition at Bethesda Memorial Hospital, police say.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating at the police's request. Special agent Michael Washam said Thursday evening that the two officers involved acted properly.

According to police, officers Mark Lucas and Gerry Rich tried to stop 36-year-old Ricky Vincent Searcy at 3:33 a.m. after he ran a stop sign at Northwest 11th Avenue and West Atlantic Avenue. With a patrol car in pursuit, Searcy continued to drive, turning west onto Southwest First Street and running another stop sign at Southwest First Street and Southwest 12th Avenue, the report said.

Searcy stopped at his home at 140 S.W. 14th Ave. and got out of his car. According to the report, Searcy "had his right hand to his mouth and was chewing vigorously."

Searcy had white powder and pieces of crack cocaine on his lips and face, according to the report. There were 14 pieces of crack cocaine on the front seat of the car, police spokesman Jeff Messer said.

At the police department, Searcy said he didn't feel well and walked to an ambulance when it arrived. His condition worsened at the hospital, Messer said.

Searcy was charged with possession of cocaine, destruction of physical evidence and fleeing and eluding. Since 1983, he has been arrested 22 times in the county on various drugs and weapons charges.

Copyright 2001 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.

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