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Nude man escapes hospital

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Covington police officers were tasked with what proved to be a difficult assignment Thursday morning when they attempted to apprehend a nude man who was running down U.S. Highway 278.

John Carpenter, 22, of 7128 Chaney Drive, was eventually arrested and charged with public indecency, four counts of felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer and interference with government property.

According to CPD spokesman Ken Malcom, officers were called out to the Chaney Drive home by residents who told officers Carpenter had driven all night from his home in Washington, D.C., to Covington and they believed he was under the influence of PCP, or phencyclidine. The drug is known to cause hallucinations and a range of side-effects which include an enhanced sense of strength and profuse sweating, according to the website Drugs.com.

Malcom said when officers responded to the residence, they found the man walking out in the street with no clothes on.

"He was compliant, but they felt like he needed to be taken to the hospital to be evaluated," Malcom said, adding that Carpenter was then transported to Newton Medical Center by ambulance.

After arriving at the hospital, however, he ran from the emergency room out onto Highway 278 around 7:45 a.m.

Malcom said two officers caught up with the still nude man near the intersection of Mill Street where he was walking westbound on U.S. 278 with an IV in his arm. They attempted to place handcuffs on him, but were unsuccessful and he was able to flee. Other officers, including deputies from the Newton County Sheriff's Office, joined in the pursuit and were able to catch up with him.

"He began fighting and he is a very stout man and officers had to use their Tasers on three separate occasions," Malcom said. "He attempted to dive through a window into the front seat of a police car and put it in drive. They were able to get in the car and pull him out. He tried it a second time and they pulled him out again. After several minutes, they were able to put handcuffs on him."

Malcom said officers then took him to the Newton County Detention Center where he was further restrained before being transported back to the hospital.

Malcom noted that often under the influence of drugs, people become "extremely agitated and with the adrenaline rush, become very difficult to subdue."

Malcom said none of the officers was seriously hurt, but there were concerns.

"Several officers ended up with blood on them. One received a minor cut. This is something that is very concerning when blood is exchanged," he said. "Everybody involved in the incident remained on duty and were able to complete their shift."

Malcom said the suspect is said to be a professional rapper.