5/13/20 Purdue Police Department

A Purdue police officer on patrol stumbled upon a truck parked on the top of the Wood Street parking garage earlier this month, and the truck's three occupants have been charged with disobeying a declaration of disaster emergency.

According to court records filed this week, 22-year-old Katie Elizabeth Blair-Schroeder of Reynolds, Indiana, 18-year-old Dwayne Marion Winfield Jr. of Brazos Circle in Lafayette, and Michael A. Fisher of Bunting Lane in Lafayette have each been charged with the B misdemeanor.

Purdue police officer R.S. Melton wrote in a probable cause affidavit that while on patrol about 9 p.m. May 2, he saw the silver Dodge pickup parked on the top level of the parking garage at 120 S. Grant St. Fisher, the truck's owner, acknowledged to the officer that his plates were expired.

Melton wrote that he smelled marijuana near the truck. Fisher said he had last smoked the drug a few days earlier, according to the affidavit.

After being asked, Winfield allowed the officer to find a small amount of marijuana in his pants pocket, according to the documents. The officer cited Winfield for possessing marijuana, although that was not included with the charge filed this week.

The three "advised they had just been out driving around and wanted to see the sunset from the top of the garage. They explained their disappointment of the overcast sky to me that prevented them from seeing the sun," the officer wrote.

Blair-Schroeder told Melton "multiple times" that she works for a health-care facility in Delphi. The officer wrote that he questioned the trio about any health symptoms.

After Winfield acknowledged he had a fever earlier that day and that he had been suffering from headaches and an upset stomach, which he attributed to being diagnosed with a sinus infection in January or February, the officer wrote that he donned a mask along with the gloves he was already wearing.

Melton noted that he followed department protocol in case any of the three had COVID-19: "I was required to leave the evidence locked in the truck, disinfect and/or remove my uniform for cleaning, and to leave work immediately after decontamination for the evening while the risk of exposure was assessed by the department."

He ended the report urging the prosecutor's office to review "possible misdemeanor charges on all three subjects in this case in regards to clear violation of the essential travel order put in place by Governor Holcomb."

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