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Mobile meth lab found after pickup nearly knocks down electric lines
DIXON, Mo. (May 21, 2010) — When cars smash into utility poles, the consequences can be devastating if live electric wires drop down onto the roadway and electrocute people or start fires. On Thursday night, Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 10:58 p.m. report that a man had struck a Gascosage electric pole with a pickup truck, knocked out power to a nearby residence, and left driving toward Dixon in a navy blue Chevrolet Impala.

The witness was able to obtain a license plate and deputies notified Dixon police, who contacted the vehicle owner. Gascosage electric crews arrived on the scene by 11:22 p.m. and rapidly determined the situation was serious; the electric pole was being held up by the pickup truck, a transformer was located on top of the pole, and if the pole broke, it would knock down live electric wires.

Inspection of the truck revealed even more serious problems: an anhydrous ammonia tank was in the truck which would pose a serious hazard under any circumstances, and even more so if struck by live power lines. Deputies called Dixon firefighters at 11:29 p.m. for potential emergency response, with Rothmund’s Towing removing the vehicle at 12:12 p.m.

While investigating the pickup truck and its contents, deputies noticed an older model Buick that pulled onto Canuck Road and then pulled away abruptly in a possible attempt to avoid police. After stopping a similar-appearing but wrong vehicle, deputies located the correct vehicle at 11:48 p.m. on the 10500 grid of Champion Road and arrested a woman in the car at 12:05 a.m., taking her to the Dixon police station about 10 minutes later.

Since the woman they had arrested had two juveniles with her, deputies called the children’s father at 12:54 a.m. to take the children before transporting the woman to the county jail. The woman refused to provide details of where the pickup driver had gone after she dropped him off at an address in Dixon; he finally called about four hours later and said he’d be willing to turn himself in and take a breath alcohol test.

According to Sheriff J.B. King, a detective assigned to drug investigations had already been in the Dixon area since 7 p.m. following up on leads involving methamphetamine labs and had found two separate dump sites where the remains of meth labs had been discarded. After deputies identified the anhydrous ammonia tank as a potential meth lab component, deputies called the detective who confirmed that it was likely part of a meth lab and began an investigation of what he determined was a mobile meth lab.

King said the suspect in the meth lab was located and taken into custody. No names have yet been released pending filing of formal charges.

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