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Drug suspect's escape try fails

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Friday, April 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

A North Belle Vernon man facing drug charges attempted to escape custody by running into the woods after he was taken for treatment to Monongahela Valley Hospital.

Kristopher Waldrum, 27, of 526 Henry St. now faces additional charges for an alleged assault attempt on two Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services employees.

Waldrum was arrested following a traffic stop by Officer Michael Leasure 7 p.m. April 12 in the 300 block of McKean Avenue in Charleroi.

The charges were filed Thursday with Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in Charleroi.

Waldrum, a passenger in the backseat of a vehicle driven by Kelly Walker, allegedly had two empty stamp bags commonly used to package heroin under his leg, according to a criminal complaint.

A front seat passenger, Mark Rose, was trying to hide something, police said. Police said that after Rose was taken out of the car, they found an empty stamp bag between the seat and a needle sticking out of the seat. A third passenger, Charlene Kyle, was searched at the police station by California police Officer Kristie Salzman.

Salzman allegedly found a bundle of suspected heroin and two hypodermic needles in Kyle's underwear. Four stamp bags were labeled “RB,” three were called “Life Support” and others were stamped “Obama Care,” the complaint states.

Police separated Waldrum, Kyle and Rose and interviewed them individually.

Kyle reportedly told police Waldrum – her live-in boyfriend – handed her the heroin and needles when he saw the police cruiser behind them and told her, “Take this. If I get caught with this I will go to jail for a long time.” Waldrum denied the heroin was his and told police he “needed to go to the hospital.”

Because Kyle and Rose were still in custody, police did not accompany the Mon Valley EMS crew that transported Waldrum to the hospital.

Rose was charged with two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering/fabricating physical evidence. The charges will be sent to him via postal summons, police said.

Neither Kyle nor Walker have been charged.

After Kyle and Rose were released, Leasure headed to the hospital and heard a Washington County 911 call to Carroll Township police about man who had fled from the hospital.

Paramedic Michael Cain told police that as Waldrum first ran, the suspect fell, got up, and then “took a swing” at Cain and emergency medical technician Michael Forbes.

Waldrum ran down the hill and into the woods behind the hospital. He was trying to hit Cain and Forbes as he ran, the complaint states.

Another emergency personnel employee, Paul Schmidt, joined the chase and helped Cain stop Waldrum in the woods.

Cain injured his hand during the pursuit. All of the men were covered in mud when they returned Waldrum to the hospital, the complaint states. Cain's uniform was torn and stained with Waldrum's blood. After being treated at the hospital, Waldrum was taken to the Washington County Correctional Facility on a parole violation warrant.

Waldrum was arraigned Thursday by Hopkins on two felony counts of aggravated assault, one felony count each of flight to avoid apprehension and manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, six misdemeanor counts each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of criminal mischief-damage property.

Hopkins returned Waldrum to the county jail in lieu of $50,000 straight cash bond. Waldrum faces a preliminary hearing before Hopkins 9 a.m. May 1.

Waldrum was sentenced June 10 in Washington County Court to six to 23 months in jail and a year of probation after pleading guilty May 21, 2012, to access device used to obtain property or service and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges were filed by Donora police Oct. 31, 2011.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at swolford@tribweb.com.

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