Trooper revived with Narcan after traffic stop

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LEICESTER — A Vermont State Police trooper is recovering after being revived with multiple doses of Narcan after a traffic stop where he was exposed to an opioid-like drug, police say.

The trooper is now recovering and VSP is investigating to determine which substance he was exposed to.

Acting Sgt. Brett Flansberg, of the New Haven Barracks of the Vermont State Police, stopped a vehicle in Leicester around 11:25 p.m. Friday night for a traffic violation. When speaking with the driver, Flansberg noticed the passenger swallowed an item, which the passenger later admitted to be a bag of cocaine, according to a VSP press release.

The passenger, Taylor C. Woodward, 25, of Brandon, was taken into custody by other troopers at the scene on suspicion of possessing heroin.

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During a search of the vehicle, Flansberg collected a "small quantity of heroin" in a baggie, an empty plastic baggie, and a syringe. As he transported the evidence back to the barracks, Flansberg began to feel ill and when he arrived at the barracks, he called for help and collapsed in the parking lot, states the release.

Fellow troopers found Flansberg unresponsive and immediately administered two doses of Narcan, an opiate overdose reversal drug. As he was rushed to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Flansberg received a third dose of Narcan and began to show signs of improvement, states the release.

Flansberg received additional medical treatment at the hospital and was released, police say.

Vermont State Police Director Col. Matthew Birmingham instructed the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Narcotics Investigation Unit to conduct a full investigation of the incident. Testing is underway to determine what substance Flansberg was exposed to.

Birmingham noted that being a state trooper is dangerous for many reasons, but the new threat of exposure to powerful drugs that can kill in tiny amounts is "troubling and disconcerting."

"We are incredibly lucky and extremely thankful that Sgt. Flansberg is alive and recovering today," he said. "Were it not for the immediate availability of Narcan and the quick actions of his fellow troopers and medical personnel, we might be speaking today about the death of a trooper in the line of duty. I'm angry at how close we came, and relieved that the situation was no worse than it was."


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