According to court records, it all started on August 14 when a nurse at Methodist Willowbrook Hospital noticed that the patient in room 6412 was leaving a few syringes around. That struck her as odd, as the patient in that room, 52-year-old Clarence Leroy Teel, was neither a diabetic, nor had any injections been administered to him as part of his treatment. The nurse contacted security, in the form of Lt. D.C. Angelo, off-duty HPD cop moonlighting as a hospital guard.
Along with a security guard, Angelo went to Teel's room and walked in. Teel was in the bathroom when they arrived. Angelo identified himself as a cop and asked Teel to come out and talk to him. The cop reported that Teel did, but only after making him wait ten minutes, during which Angelo said the toilet could be heard to flush three times.
At last, Teel emerged and lay down on his bed. Angelo told him he was there because of the syringes, and Teel soon admitted that he had struggled with heroin over the years, and had gotten high as recently as two weeks ago. According to a police report, Teel then consented verbally (and eventually filled out a written consent) to a search of his room.
(And squadrons of defense attorneys cradle their faces in their palms.)
Angelo unzipped a black canvas shoulder bag and found a crack pipe inside. Teel told the cop one of his friends must have left it there after visiting him.
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There were also two portable safes in Teel's room. On the cop's request, Teel handed over the keys. Inside, the cop found $3,500 and quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, Xanax, Vicodin and Dolophine, a brand of Methadone, not to mention more syringes, Brillo pads, a scale, some small balloons, metal push rods and a selection of crack pipes. Clearly, Clarence Teel wasn't about to let a trifling matter like an extended hospital stay slow his roll.
Maybe he thought the crank was sanctioned. After all, wasn't he a patient in Meth-o-dist hospital? (Sorry.)
The cop also found more than $700 in Teel's pocket. Teel told the cop that the cash (totaling over $4,200 when combined with the money in the safe) represented his earnings as a tow-truck dispatcher, but the law didn't buy that line, and his money has been confiscated as drug contraband.
So far Teel's only charge is for simple possession of meth, but more charges could be filed later. Teel has previously been convicted of possessing weed, meth and heroin on various occasions, and also has numerous theft convictions.