Recent incidents police believe are related to the use of the drug phencyclidine, or PCP, have resulted in multiple arrests in Orange over the span of a week, with suspects accused of public intoxication and possession of a controlled substance. But an incident in Beaumont months ago that police say could be PCP-related resulted in the death of a man and his daughter.
On New Year’s Eve, police in Orange arrested two men after a traffic stop led them to discover synthetic marijuana and PCP in the men’s possession, according to a report from the Orange Police Department.
According to the report, OPD Officer Michael Roush conducted a traffic stop at approximately 2:47 p.m. on Dec. 31, after seeing passengers in a red Ford Ranger who were not using seat belts at the intersection of 14th Street and Burton Avenue in Orange. According to Roush, the driver of the vehicle did not immediately stop and continued slowly rolling forward toward John Street and then turning on to 11th Street. In Roush’s report, he noted that suspects often “slow roll” when they are attempting to quickly hide or destroy “any type of weapons, drugs or paraphernalia.”
Roush described two of the vehicle’s three occupants as “shaking and nervous,” and one passenger identified as 28-year-old Kent Pierce exited the vehicle and was searched. Police discovered a syringe, “2XX Klimax” synthetic marijuana and brass knuckles, a prohibited weapon. Pierce was placed under arrest.
Roush then reported making contact with the second passenger, identified as 41-year-old Desmond Burnett of Orange. According to Roush, Burnett’s eyes were red and watery, and his speech was slow and slurred. Roush reported the suspect was not able to answer simple questions, and when asked to step out of the vehicle, the man was off-balance. Roush determined Burnett was intoxicated on some unknown substance, and placed him into custody for public intoxication. Both Burnett and Pierce were taken to the Orange County Correctional Facility. Upon a search of Burnett, police discovered what they believe to be PCP.
The investigation into this incident is ongoing.
Two other men were arrested in Orange within two days for public intoxication, one on Jan. 3 and another on Jan. 4, both of whom police believe were high on PCP.
Orange Police arrested 28-year-old Orange resident Quenton Darell Prater on Jan. 3 after receiving reports of a man lying in the roadway with a knife in the area of North 11th Street and Wrenway. Upon arrival at approximately 8:47 p.m., OPD Capt. Eric Ellison reported observing Prater in the road holding a 4-inch, black-handled Defender knife.
“It was very apparent to this officer that the subject was under the influence of an unknown narcotic. … Prater had an odor emitting from his person that smelled like phencyclidine (PCP),” Ellison wrote.
Prater was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail.
The very next day, OPD received a call regarding a family disturbance in the 200 block of Farragut Avenue and responded at approximately 7:35 p.m. Officer Michael Roush reported that when he arrived at the residence, people outside the home told him 28-year-old Randall St. Julien Hancock was inside and high on “wet.”
According to Roush’s report, “wet” is street slang for a marijuana or regular cigarette dipped in PCP and then smoked. “Dips” can mean the same thing as “wet.” PCP is also known as “angel dust.” The drug may be ingested, smoked, inhaled or injected.
Hancock was arrested for public intoxication and taken to jail.
In October 2013, the drowning deaths of a father and his young daughter rocked Southeast Texas.
At about 10:40 a.m. on Oct. 10, Beaumont Police Department patrol officers responded to a reported drowning in the wading pool of the Alice Keith Park in the 4000 block of Reed Street.
A city maintenance worker was checking the grounds when he saw a man floating face down in the wading pool, a BPD press release said. The worker approached and saw that the arm of a child was sticking out from underneath the man. The worker immediately called 911.
Beaumont EMS and Fire Department personnel attempted to resuscitate the man and child at the scene. They then rushed the two to the Baptist Hospital Emergency Room where ER personnel pronounced them dead.
Detectives identified the man as 31-year-old Traveth Quinn, and the child was his daughter, 3-year-old Legend Quinn. Both were residents of Beaumont.
At the time, police ruled the death as “suspicious.” Police now say Traveth Quinn’s autopsy results revealed the presence of PCP.
According to OPD Capt. Cliff Hargrave, PCP-related incidents are more common than reports indicate. He said many PCP users stay inside to use the drug due to its extreme effects, including manic and hallucinogenic effects, but sometimes they are found wandering the streets in a state of confusion. In those cases, the suspects are often charged with public intoxication for being intoxicated on an “unknown substance.”
“It’s been around as long as I’ve been here,” Hargrave said of PCP. “That’s not the kind of drug people normally walk around with in their pocket. It’s a liquid. They usually use little brown bottles, like the dark brown vanilla extract bottles.”
Beaumont Officer Doug Kibodeaux said his office has investigated their share of PCP-related cases, including the death of the Quinns.
“I wouldn’t say it is really common,” said Kibodeaux, “but we do get incidents from time to time. PCP makes users very, very aggressive. They go into this manic state. They are not in their right minds.”
Anyone with a substance abuse problem should seek help immediately. For information on how to get help for addiction, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website at www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhsa-sa-help/ or call the Spindletop Center at (409) 839-1000.