When law enforcement recovers a stolen vehicle in relatively good condition, it’s usually considered a stroke of good luck. However, in this case, it took a shocking turn.
Things Took a Dark Turn
After all, many stolen vehicles are either wrecked by joyriders or disassembled for illegal parts sales.
However, for the Culver family residing in Pierce County, Washington, this fortunate turn of events took a distressing turn.
There Was No Damage to the Truck
The Culvers, who call Tacoma their home, had their 2002 Ford F-350 returned to them without any major damage following its theft.
Something Strange Was Lurking
At first glance, this seemed like a happy ending to a troubling situation. Little did they know that their ordeal was far from over.
Their Kids Got Weird Symptoms
Soon after their prized vehicle was back in their possession, the Culver family began experiencing bizarre symptoms.
Jake Culver, the head of the family, noticed that his 8- and 10-year-old children were suffering from sleep disruptions and upset stomachs.
No One Knew What Was Happening
He, too, began experiencing frequent headaches after the few drives they took together in their recently recovered truck.
These mysterious health issues left the family bewildered and concerned.
‘Have We Had it Tested for Drugs?’
It was during this perplexing time that a neighbor raised a crucial question: “Had we had it tested for drugs?”
Jake Culver recalled. Puzzled by the inquiry, he replied, “No, why would we?”
The Disturbing Truth
Little did they know that their neighbor’s suggestion would uncover a deeply unsettling truth.
Thieves Do More Than Steal
Stolen vehicles often find themselves in the hands of individuals who are breaking multiple laws, particularly in relation to illicit substances.
He Got the Truck Tested
Jake Culver decided to take the neighbor’s advice and get their vehicle tested for potential damage, including drug contamination.
They Expected Negative Results
They employed the same company that their insurance typically used to test for biohazards, expecting the report to come back negative.
The Disturbing Results Came In
The results were shocking and deeply concerning.
The test revealed that traces of methamphetamine exceeded the national safe exposure limits by eight times, and the dangerous synthetic opioid, fentanyl, was found to be two times higher than the acceptable levels.
His Wife Broke Down in Tears
Jake Culver couldn’t contain his dismay when he shared the results with his wife.
“My wife just broke down in tears when I told her the results of the test,” he said.
‘My Heart Sank’
“My heart sank. If she had inhaled the fentanyl or something like that, I mean, who knows where we’d be right now.”
They Blame the Insurance Company
Blaming the insurance company for failing to test for illicit substance exposure inside the stolen truck, Jake Culver highlighted that the firm often conducts such evaluations.
Shocked Insurance Company Didn’t Do Their Job
He expressed his disappointment, saying, “I expect the people paid to help us through these troubles would actually do their job, and that’s more shocking, frankly than the drug use and the car theft.”
Although they couldn’t reverse the exposure their family had experienced, the Culvers hope their ordeal will serve as a cautionary tale for others in similar situations.
They Want Others to Get Their Stolen Cars Tested
They strongly encourage people to go thorough testing whenever a stolen vehicle is recovered to protect families from potential exposure to harmful substances.
The Exposure Only Lasted a Week
While the Culver family’s ordeal has a somewhat fortunate ending in that, they were exposed to the toxic residue of multiple drugs for only a week.
Law Enforcement Won’t Arrest for Drug Use
In nearby Seattle, the City Council made a controversial decision to vote against a law that would enable law enforcement to prosecute public drug use cases.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Gorynvd . The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.