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A 32-year-old Albany man died unexpectedly Wednesday after exhibiting bizarre behavior that authorities believe might have been linked to use of a synthetic drug commonly known as spice.
Corvallis medics were called to Marys River Lumber in Philomath at 3:33 p.m. Thursday after a mill worker, Alan Eugene Garner, began running around, acting strangely.
His colleagues thought he might have been suffering from heatstroke or a medical condition, said Sgt. Randy Hiner of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was trying to throw punches at people … who were trying to assist him, get him in the shade and give him water,” Hiner said, adding that it appeared Garner did not know what he was doing.
Deputies detained Garner so that medics could begin treating him and load him up for transport to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.
“His condition just seemed to deteriorate as time went on,” Hiner said. “His eyes were open, he was awake, but he was not coherent at that time.”
Garner died sometime in the night, Hiner said.
Hiner said that evidence suggests that Garner might have used the synthetic “spice” drug, but he declined to elaborate. The cause of death is still under investigation.
Hiner said Garner was hired through a temp agency and was from Umatilla. He recently moved to Albany, but Hiner said he didn’t when.
Spice is a synthetic drug that is known to have similar effects as marijuana, but its use has been linked to deaths in the country.
“We haven’t dealt with very many cases involving it,” Hiner said. “It’s out on the streets, for sure, but to my knowledge there haven’t been any deaths in Benton County by it.”
Oregon State Police Captain Jeff Randall Lanz, the head of the OSP’s Office of Professional Standards in Salem, was charged Wednesday with six counts of third-degree theft (a class C misdemeanor) and six counts of first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
Lanz, 39, has been on paid administrative leave since April 29 pending investigation into allegations of misconduct.
According to documents filed by Linn County Deputy District Attorney George Eder, Lanz used a credit card issued by the state to purchase gas for his personal vehicle on six different occasions between Oct. 8, 2013, and April 14, 2014. Value of each purchase was less than $100. The misconduct charges stem from each of the purchases, which reportedly occurred in Linn County.
The cards used were issued to purchase fuel only for the vehicle assigned to Lanz by the state for use in his official duties.
Eder did not comment on how the charges came to light. The prosecutor filed charges after reviewing findings from a criminal investigation conducted by a major from the OSP.
Lanz is a former station commander at Oregon State University and a Lebanon High School graduate.
He has been with the state police since 1999. He was assigned to OSP’s agency headquarters in Salem in 2011 and promoted to captain on July 1, 2012.
He was in charge of risk management, internal investigations, human resources and training in his position as professional standards director.
No date has been set for a court appearance. That will be coordinated between the Linn County District Attorney’s office and Lanz’ attorney.
A 26-year-old Corvallis man pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges as part of a plea deal Wednesday in Benton County Circuit Court.
Joseph Lee Reyes was arrested in June under allegations that he sexually molested two of his relatives in separate incidents when they were 8 years old – one girl in August 2012 and another girl in August 2008.
He was indicted Sept. 13 on three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count each of coercion, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and first-degree sodomy.
He pleaded guilty Wednesday to sodomy and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. The remaining charges are expected to be dismissed at his sentencing hearing scheduled June 2.
Reyes became a registered sex offender at the age of 17 for fondling a 9-year-old girl, according to an officer’s affidavit, which was filed in court.