The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Education

September 23, 2013

Elwood players won't face adult charges

Officials deny accusations football team has drug-abuse problem

ELWOOD, Ind. —

Two Elwood High School football players arrested on drug charges before a Sept. 6 football game will not be waived to adult court, officials said Monday.

The case led to an anonymous letter received by The Herald Bulletin and school district offices in which the writer claims the drug problem is widespread.

The two students, a 16- and a 17-year-old, were arrested prior to the team's game against Blackford High School. The Herald Bulletin does not typically print the names of arrested juveniles.

According to Elwood police, an assistant coach who allegedly saw the two players with the substance contacted school Principal David Rutherford, who notified police. The investigating officers reported finding a total of 7.5 milligrams of hydrocodone, a powerful painkiller derived from codeine, in the teenagers' possession.

Both boys are charged with possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, a Class C felony, and the 17-year-old is charged with dealing a Schedule III controlled substance, Police Chief Sam Hanna said. While the dealing charge is usually a Class B felony, it is being upgraded to a Class A felony because the sale reportedly happened on school grounds.

According to Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, the teens will be processed through juvenile court because the case doesn't warrant consideration for adult court. Cummings said it would be at least a week before an initial hearing date is determined.

On Sept. 12, The Herald Bulletin received an unsigned letter from a person claiming to be a parent of an Elwood football player. The parent did not sign the letter, they wrote, for fear of reprisal against their child.

The letter was critical of Elwood Head Coach Marty Wells and other members of his staff for covering up drinking and drug use among players. The author claims that their child witnessed about 10 other Elwood players disposing of illegal drugs before the Sept. 6 game. Eight players were identified in the anonymous letter by name.

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