Scott Garden would have turned 24 today.
But his parents say a drug called “crank” killed their “Valentine kid.”
Garden, twice arrested on methamphetamine charges, jumped into a garbage bin last Friday to escape his third arrest.
That’s where he spent his last moments before shooting himself in the head.
“Crank starts out fun and it ends up a tragedy,” said Garden’s father, Michael Garden. “It’s a one-way road, and for Scotty, it ended in a trash can.”
Michael and Cherylyn Garden say they watched the drug turn their loving, outgoing son into a withdrawn and violent man.
Meanwhile, North Idaho police say that within the last year, they’ve seen a startling increase in arrests for the drug.
The number of methamphetamine cases handled by the Kootenai County Drug Task Force increased from 16 in 1993 to 31 in 1994, more than a 90 percent rise. The only drug officers see more of is marijuana, said Capt. Carl Bergh.
The drug, also called “speed,” “crystal” and “ice,” is a neural stimulant that offers a long-lasting high. But the drug also can cause stomachaches, headaches and extreme paranoia.
Garden’s parents say the youth they used to know loved to hunt, fish and camp. As he got older, he liked to work on cars and race them.
“People really liked him; he was very outgoing,” his mother said, her eyes red and rimmed with tears.
When Garden became a father at age 15, his children were his life. His son Christopher is 8; his daughter Jennifer is 3.
But all that changed over the last several years - and especially so in the last nine months, his parents said. That’s when, the couple figure, their son got in too deep, injecting methamphetamine on a daily basis.
“Christopher would tell me, `My daddy was mean today and I don’t know why,”’ Michael Garden said.
Numerous drug charges spot Scott Garden’s court record.
He became paranoid and even violent around his family. “If you looked at him wrong, he would just lose it,” Cherylyn Garden said.
“It starts eating on them and eating on them. They get schizophrenic. They can’t trust anybody,” Michael Garden said.
Cherylyn Garden noticed that her son kept more and more weapons around. And he refused the family’s attempts to get him help.
Scott Garden spent his last Christmas high on crank and alone, she said.
In the last five months, Idaho State Police had arrested Scott Garden twice on methamphetamine charges.
They found not only drugs but also weapons - a .38-caliber revolver, an SKS assault rifle and a gun modified into a fully automatic machine pistol with a makeshift silencer.
On Friday, Idaho State Police Cpl. Douglas Orr saw Garden driving on Sherman Avenue. Orr knew Garden’s license had been suspended.
But Garden sped away, and Orr lost sight of him. “I wish he would have stopped,” Orr said.
According to a Coeur d’Alene police report, Garden tossed drugs and syringes out the car window. He then left the car behind, jumped into a trash bin and shot himself.
Although a preliminary investigation indicates Garden committed suicide, an autopsy will not be completed until later today.
Garden’s sister said she believes her brother accidentally shot himself. His parents are reserving judgment.
No matter what the outcome, they say it’s the methamphetamine that truly ended their son’s life - a warning to others who use the drug.
“I have a child lying on a slab,” said Michael Garden, unable to hold back the tears. “We would hate to see somebody else going through a tragedy like this.”