Large Amount of Prescription Drugs Dumped at Chapel Hill School - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/22/06-Tyler

Large Amount of Prescription Drugs Dumped at Chapel Hill School

Kerfoot Walker is a name known to many in Smith County.  For nearly 30 years, he ran what is now known as the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

He was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with illegal dumping.  Dumped were dozens of prescription drugs, even syringes in a dumpster at Chapel Hill's Kissam Intermediate School.

"There are just myriad medications here," says Smith County Environmental Crimes Detective Sgt. Danny Brasher.   There were so many kinds of medication that were seemingly ready for patients.

Some were out of date, some were not, but they were all thrown in a blue dumpster near the school building.

"There were some in boxes that were opened. There were some in plastic bags mingled with [Walker's] household trash."

Kerfoot Walker posted his $10,000 bond hours after his arrest.  He and his wife live right next door to Kissam.  She told KLTV off-camera that putting the drugs in the dumpster probably wasn't good judgement, but this was the first time.   Brasher says Walker told him he usually burns the items, but the burn ban precluded that.

"He told me he knew it was wrong but he needed to get rid of the medications," Brasher said.

The medications were given to Walker for missionary work around the world, say colleagues.  They tell us helping others continued to be his life since he retired nearly a decade ago.

"[He has a] big hear-- probably got the biggest heart.  I've seen him go to somebody's house who was sick and come back in the next day wearing the clothes he was wearing the day before," says Brenda Elrod, who worked with Walker at the health district for many years.

How Dangerous?

After we contacted Chapel Hill Schools, a statement was released that said the district was confident children's safety was maintained.  It also mentioned the dumpster site was located on the west end of the campus, and "not in an area that students are permitted to be in or would have access to."

But Brasher says the dumpster was indeed in an open area, accessible by anyone, including mr. Walker or any student.

"We do not know that [students] did not get some of these prescriptions out. There's no telling the health risk out here had the children gotten into them," he says.

Parent LaShonda Minor is incensed at the illegal dumping at her child's school.

"I think he should go to jail and have some time to think about that because kids could get into that trash can and take that medication," he said.

Walker faces two misdemeanor charges right now, but Brasher says state investigators are to open their inquiry.

Medicines and supplies in much larger quantities than a family would normally use must be disposed of in a proper manner.  Brasher says drug companies can arrange for disposal.   For normal numbers of expired or unused pills, you can dispose of them with your household trash.

Reported by Morgan Palmer, morganpalmer@kltv.com.

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