Agitated man interrupts Bland city meeting; said he was given ‘mercury’

Roxie Murphy
Staff Writer

BLAND — Bland’s Board of Aldermen meeting was interrupted Monday night when a man identified as Bradley White, 27, walked in, requesting an ambulance, complaining of chest pains.

White was breathing heavily, clenching his chest, and talking quickly.

“Help me! Don’t let me go! I’m dying!” he yelled, while pacing back and forth at the doorway of the John L. Baxter Administration Building. “Call an ambulance!”

City Clerk Rachel Anderson called 911 and was speaking with Osage County Dispatch while Mayor Ron Shafferkoetter tried to calm White. 

“Let’s take a short recess,” Shafferkoetter said.

The mayor asked White if he was taking drugs. “They gave me ‘mercury,’” White said while pacing and checking his pulse.

Lyndsay Gray, city treasurer, asked White if he “shot up.” White said no, he didn’t shoot it. He then ran outside and took his coat and shirt off before running back in and shouting for help again. Shafferkoetter went outside to give White his coat. White paced on the sidewalk and leaned heavily against both the city’s utility payment dropbox and a handicap parking sign.

Anderson stayed inside on the phone with dispatch and called to Aldermen Tommy Thompson and Gary Lee to help the mayor. “He (White) could hurt Ron,” Anderson said.

White came back into the building begging someone to hold him because he was “going.” He came at Gray, who pushed him back.

“I am not going to hold you, Bradley,” Gray said. Gray said later that White’s mother is a friend of her mother’s, and she felt that is why he came to her.

Anderson called dispatch at around 7:20 p.m., and Gasconade County Sheriff’s Deputy David Mabe arrived on scene at about 7:35, followed by Ozark Central Ambulance District personnel out of Belle. The ambulance had been waiting down the street until the officer arrived, according to their protocol.

Mabe exited his vehicle and approached White, who then kneeled down, leaning against the handicap parking sign.

“What’s going on, partner,” Mabe asked. The officer began coaching White to breathe. As the mayor and aldermen filed back inside, White suddenly jumped up and moved quickly back into the administration building. 

White laid on the floor inside the administration building and asked Mabe to “pop his back or step on him.” Mabe said no, but put his hands on White’s back to keep him from getting up. He asked White where it hurt. “My lower back,” White said and pointed to the right side of his lower back. 

He made choking noises, trying to make himself vomit while laying on the floor. Then he sat up, dumping a bowl full of Dumb-Dumbs on the clerk’s desk. “I want one of these before I leave,” White said as he unwrapped the packaging.

He asked for a second cup of water, and Gray gave him one. He then proceeded to vomit the water. An Ozark Central Ambulance pulled up outside and White stood and ran out of the building toward them.

Ambulance personnel managed to calm White a bit after he jumped up onto the gurney they were unloading. Scuffling and yelling from White could be heard from outside the ambulance as Mabe advised White that he was not making the situation easy on ambulance personnel.

“He must have got a bad batch,” Mabe said.

White was taken to Phelps Health in Rolla, formerly Phelps County Regional Medical Center.

Mabe said on Tuesday he does not think that White ingested mercury.

“It’s hard telling what he (White) is talking about,” Mabe said. “He said he smoked some methamphetamine at an unknown address in Bland. He was speaking all kinds of spontaneous utterances. Meth will alter your mental status.”

White was obviously alive and well inside the ambulance, but Mabe said he kept saying he was dead. Mabe said he has been to similar medical emergencies where someone has had a bad reaction to a drug.

“Just keep them breathing and keep them from hyperventilating,” he said. “Treat them like they have a real medical problem.”

The sheriff’s department does not expect to press charges against White. A wallet and a pack of cigarettes were found in White’s pockets. Mabe said he was unsure of White’s original whereabouts or if he lived in the area.

Anderson had made reference during the 911 call that White had been to the Bland Municipal Court on more than one occasion. Mabe said it is the first time he has dealt with White.