By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A Belknap County Superior Court judge has said the methamphetamine found by Meredith Police in a backpack for a man who was behaving erratically will be admitted into evidence after Joshua Pike, 29, of no fixed address, was charged with possession. The finding will allow the case to move forward, rather than being thrown out.
Judge James O'Neill wrote that the search of Pike's backpack in January met the criteria established by the state legislature that says police were allowed to search Pike's backpack before he was taken to the hospital by an ambulance to make sure nothing in it posed a threat to police or the ambulance and hospital personnel.
On Jan. 26, Meredith officers had responded to a report of a man who was "acting weird." While responding, the officer learned the man, who was later identified as Pike, was trying to remove his clothes.
The first responding officer noticed that Pike was removing his jacket and that his pants were unzipped. He said Pike was making erratic movements with his hands and arms and was grabbing at own face. He noticed Pike had sores on his body and fresh blood on his hands.
The officer, who was assisted by two other officers, called for an ambulance and noted in his report that through his training and experience believed Pike was under the influence of methamphetamine. He said Pike had a backpack that he dropped at the officer's feet.
The officer who searched it said he was only checking it for weapons so he could put the backpack in the ambulance to go with Pike to the hospital.
After Pike himself was checked for weapons, the officer went through the backpack and found a pink sack that he said was heavy enough and big enough to hold a small gun. When they searched it, they found some methamphetamine.
O'Neill determined that the officers were correct in placing Pike into protective custody, despite the fact that he didn't smell of alcohol, because of his erratic behavior and his attempts to remove his clothing on a cold January day.
He also ruled they were correct in searching the backpack because of the potential danger its contents could have posed to Pike, themselves, the ambulance crews and the people at the hospital.
Pike's trial for possession is scheduled for November.