Greene Co. first responders treated at hospital after possible exposure to fentanyl while responding to overdose

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GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Greene County Sheriff’s Department (GCSD) deputy and EMS responder were treated at an area hospital after responding to reports of an overdose on Hartman Road Thursday morning, according to a release from the Third Judicial District Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

When responders arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., they found Tommy Dale Starnes, 26, on the floor needing medical treatment, the release states.

Tommy Dale Starnes (PHOTO: DTF)

According to the release, Starnes’ girlfriend said the two had been using heroin, which was possibly laced with fentanyl.

As responders were transporting Starnes to the hospital, an EMS worker began having overdose symptoms, which prompted a GCSD deputy to pull the ambulance over to drive the rest of the way.

This deputy began experiencing overdose symptoms when the ambulance arrived at the hospital.

Both the deputy and EMS responder received treatment and were released from the hospital later Thursday, according to the release.

As the first responders received treatment, Greene County Sheriff Wesley Holt geared up in a hazmat suit to retrieve the substance from the deputy’s patrol car to ensure it was properly sealed.

GCSD teamed with the Third Judicial District Drug and Violent Crime Task Force (DTF) to collect further evidence from the residence on Hartman Road, which was flown to Nashville by a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter.

The Tennessee Dangerous Drug Task Force had equipped the helicopter with decontamination supplies, which GCSD Detective Sgt. Livingston used to clean the ambulance and patrol car.

Starnes was charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment, felony possession of schedules I and IV drugs and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

His bond is set at $100,000.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists fentanyl as a “synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.”

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