HR Strange But True!
February 11, 2004

After more than two years of investigation, Michigan authorities say they intend to bring the state's antiterrorism law to bear against a Detroit high school maintenance worker suspected of spilling 3 pounds of mercury around the school in a fit of anger over an overtime dispute.

Court papers filed in connection with the October 2001 incident say the 52-year-old man had been having trouble with coworkers that day and threatened to close down the school if his union issues about overtime were not addressed, according to the Detroit Free Press.

That afternoon, students and teachers in the science wing discovered silvery beads on the hallway floor. The spill was noticed after a change of classes, so students had unknowingly walked through the substance and tracked it around the building. Everyone in the building-1,300 students and 100 faculty-had to be quarantined until their shoes were checked for mercury exposure. Cleaning up the school required shutting it down for a week.

Asked why it took Detroit police, the FBI, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency so long to file charges, a spokesman for state Attorney General Mike Cox said: "It took time to put together a case that would stick."

Source: Detroit Free Press

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