Authorities investigate four overdoses at plant

Authorities are investigating four drug overdoses, at least one involving heroin, among employees at George’s chicken slaughtering and processing plant in Edinburg on Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning.

Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter said the overdoses were reported in two distinct incidents, one involving three victims and another with a single victim. All four survived, although three required hospitalization, Carter said.

Carter said one employee, Bruce Alexander Duncan, 27, of 103 Braeburn Drive, Winchester, overdosed on heroin at about 7:30 a.m. Friday. Duncan was taken by ambulance to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital and later moved to the Rappahannock Warren Shenandoah Regional Jail.

Carter said Duncan is being charged with a probation violation from Frederick County.

The Sheriff’s Office is also investigating the drug overdoses of three men that were reported at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at George’s.

“We don’t believe it’s related to the Duncan incident,” Carter said of the earlier case. “Apparently all three were sharing a substance, and all three sustained a drug overdose.”

Carter said two of the victims were taken by ambulance to Winchester Medical Center, and one was treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.

Carter said all three of the victims are men, ages 28, 22, and 21. All are work release inmates from the Harrisonburg Men’s Diversion Center. None have been charged so far. Carter said he was not ready to release their names.

“We’re trying to determine the substance involved in that incident,” Carter said, adding that the victims had been smoking and sharing something.

George’s Chicken at 19992 Senedo Road has long been an employer for work release inmates and former inmates on probation. Carter said his own department had “a relationship” with George’s that allowed the recently closed Shenandoah County Jail to place work release inmates at the plant.

“I do know some detention facilities have a relationship with them,” Carter said of George’s.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com