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Deputies suffer chemical burns in acid attack

Two Grant County Sheriff’s deputies sustained chemical burns Thursday night after a domestic violence suspect allegedly assaulted the officers with acid in Soap Lake.

Deputies Greg Hutchison and Gary Mansford received burns to the face and other places on their bodies, according to a news release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. They were transported to Samaritan Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Deputies responded to 363 County Road 18.2-NE about 6:40 p.m., the news release said. Colleen Wedge reported her son, Todd Wedge, 38, had assaulted her by striking her in the back with a drinking glass. During the phone call, police dispatchers could hear Wedge in the background threatening to assault law enforcement officers.

A Soap Lake police officer arrived at the home first and discovered Wedge had barricaded himself in a shed behind the home. Hutchison and Mansford and an Ephrata police officer arrived next and approached Wedge, who began ingesting household chemicals, including windshield washer fluid, carburetor cleaner, and muriatic acid. Police said Wedge also sprayed the highly-flammable carburetor cleaner all over himself in an attempt to dissuade officers from using a Tasing him.

Authorities pepper-sprayed Wedge, but he was able to grab the muriatic acid and throw it on the deputies, the news release said.

Wedge was ultimately subdued and arrested. He was transported to Columbia Basin Hospital, where he was treated and released. He was then booked into the Grant County Jail on suspicion of assault/domestic violence and assault upon law enforcement officers.

Colleen Wedge declined medical treatment. The Soap Lake and Ephrata officers were uninjured.

Highly corrosive and caustic, Muriatic acid is similar to hydrochloric acid and is used to clean things like outdoor pavement.

“Deputy Hutchison was wearing eyeglasses, and his glasses stopped the acid from going right into his eyes,” said Sheriff Tom Jones. “This incident highlights some of the hazards our law enforcement officers face every day, and I’m very grateful none of the officers involved received more serious injuries.”