Police Officer Searching Truck Doesn’t Notice Pipe Bomb, Device Explodes Right Under Him

This is an old story with a new twist thanks to a viral video.

According to WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, a chemical pipe bomb exploded on a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy as he searched a pickup truck during a traffic stop in April.

The deputy stopped a truck driven by Charles Legault after noticing that the license plate did not match the vehicle.

He then conducted the search that resulted in the explosion.

According to The National Desk, the arrest report described a chlorine-based “poisonous gas bomb” and noted that “the exposure of gases and powdered particles from the explosion” sent a law enforcement officer to the hospital.

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The officer — identified by WJAX-TV as Sgt. Ryan Owens — has since recovered.

Legault, 60, now faces a myriad of charges, only one of which pertains to the explosion, The National Desk reported. They include aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, maintaining a drug vehicle and armed trafficking of methamphetamine with a firearm.

Furthermore, authorities later arrested Legault’s roommate, 64-year-old convicted felon Patrick McGregor, who also faces drug and weapons charges.

In other words, if the charges prove true, Owens stopped a dangerous man, which led to the arrest of another dangerous man.

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Initially, authorities did not release the injured sergeant’s bodycam video while the case remained under investigation, per WJXT.

On June 4, however, a YouTube channel called The CrimePiece shared the video, and it has since garnered more than 4.4 million views.

The footage showed the sergeant searching the truck’s messy front seat.

“Yeah, it’s — it’s good,” he said as he moved items on the seat.

Then came the flash and sound of the explosion.

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“What the f***?” the sergeant yelled as he staggered away from the truck and toward his sheriff’s vehicle parked behind it.

“What the f*** was that?” he again asked in a distressed-sounding voice.

Mercifully, the injured deputy appeared to gather himself somewhat by the end of the clip.

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language and sudden violence that some viewers may find offensive or disturbing.

Perhaps morbid curiosity accounts for some of the millions of views the video has received on YouTube and in a shorter version posted on X, but it makes little difference.

After all, law enforcement officers face those kinds of dangers every moment of every day. Whether by accident or otherwise, everything can change for them and their families in an instant.

Thus, viral videos of this nature cannot help but strengthen the public’s respect for the kinds of sacrifices officers’ service often entails.


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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.

Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.

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