The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

September 9, 2013

Elwood High School football players possibly face adult drug charges

ELWOOD — Two high school football players arrested on Friday before a game against Blackford High School were released to their parents Monday, but they could be facing serious adult charges.

The 16- and 17-year-old Elwood Community High School students were arrested at 6:38 p.m. Friday, just prior to the football game. According to Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna, the two were getting dressed for the game when they were taken into custody.

Hanna said the two players had been seen with hydrocodone, a powerful painkiller derived from codeine. An assistant coach who had allegedly seen the two players with the substance contacted school principal David Rutherford, who contacted police. Investigating officers reported finding a total of 7.5 milligrams in the teenagers' possession.

Both boys are being charged with possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, a Class C felony, and the 17-year-old is also being charged with dealing a Schedule III controlled substance, Hanna said. While that is usually a Class B felony, it is enhanced to a Class A felony because it happened on school grounds.

According to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, the teens will automatically be waived to adult court for trial if they have previous drug-related decisions against them in juvenile courts. If not, his office will make the call on whether to try the boys as adults.

"Dealing drugs at school is a horrible problem, and this certainly isn't the first time it has happened," Cummings said.

Elwood Superintendent Tim Smith said he could not comment on whether the teens would be suspended or other disciplinary procedures because of due process issues.

"To my knowledge, this is an isolated incident, and we're working to make sure it's not a problem anywhere else in our schools," Smith said. "It's an unfortunate situation, and hopefully a teachable opportunity for other students that things like this won't be tolerated in Elwood schools."

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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