Officer released from hospital after meth lab case, intends to return to work immediately

By: Nick McGurk Email
By: Nick McGurk Email

An Elkhart police officer who was exposed to fumes from a mobile meth lab during a traffic stop has been released from Elkhart General Hospital, according to a hospital official.

Corporal Ballard is back home now and says he intends to return to work immediately.

The other officer exposed and the two emergency responders were released from the hospital Sunday afternoon.

On a Sunday morning in March what appeared routine was, in fact, a first.

"This is the first time in Elkhart Police Department's history that as far as a mobile meth lab that officers have had to be treated," said Lt. Koch.

Cpl. Ballard and another officer pulled over John Borkholder, 27, for speeding at Vistula and 6th St. in Elkhart Sunday morning.

"Speeding is what he was stopped for," said Elkhart Lt. Laura Koch. "As he was approaching with the other officer, he was exposed to a mobile meth lab."

Shortly after asking the driver to get out of the car, the two officers found what appeared to be a mobile meth lab and one of the containers was missing a lid.

Witness Harvey Williams said, "The officer was over there getting, like he was getting sick. They opened up the trunk, fire department did, and they found a whole bunch of stuff in there."

The two Elkhart Police officers, and two emergency responders, were taken to the hospital. Elkhart General Hospital had a section for decontamination that they quarantined to the rest of the hospital to make sure no one else was contaminated.

John Borkholder is being held without bond in the Elkhart County Jail on a felony charge of dealing a controlled substance. This is not his first stint with meth. Back in 2002 he was arrested for possession of meth.

As part of the investigation, officers went to a residence on West High St. and found methamphetamine and meth-making items.

There, 39-year-old Tricia Ostrom of Elkhart was arrested. She faces felony charges for unlawful sale of a precursor, maintaining a common nuisance and possessing meth.


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