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Deputy saves overdosing man following OWI stop

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On Sunday, Dec. 10 at 5:42 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center took several cell 911 calls about a vehicle northbound on I41 near Holy Hill Road that was driving in the emergency lane, tailgating vehicles, turning “blinkers” on and off without making lane changes, traveling 20 mph below the speed limit and swerving from lane to lane.

The vehicle was stopped on I41 in the town of Addison. The driver, and sole occupant of the vehicle, was identified as a 41-year-old city of Fond du lac man.

The investigating deputy suspected drug use as a factor in the driving based upon his initial contact. Due to the cold/inclement weather, the driver was transported from the scene to a local fire department for field sobriety testing.

The deputy determined the driver was impaired due to drug consumption and the he was taken into custody. The operator was then transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital for a legal blood draw.

Deputy Chris Killey is a Drug Recognition Expert in Washington County. He was dispatched to the hospital for a DRE evaluation after a request from the initial investigating deputy.

After the completion of the evaluation, Deputy Killey determined the driver was under the influence of a Narcotic Analgesic category drug and was unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Even more notable to this case, he also observed the subject displayed several early indicators of a pending opiate overdose. These overdoses are commonly fatal without medical intervention.

These symptoms included difficulty breathing, rapid pulse rate, drowsiness, agonal breathing, pinpoint pupils, etc. Rather than transporting the subject to jail, he advocated for early medical intervention.

The subject was transferred to the emergency room where the attending physician agreed with our DRE’s medical assessment that the man was in the midst of an opiate overdose.

Medical staff administered Narcan treatment and all symptoms of overdose were almost instantly resolved. Further testing showed that the driver was also in liver failure and he was subsequently admitted to ICU for more life-saving measures.

Through a high degree of training and observation skills, law enforcement was able to avoid a major medical event while the driver was in custody of law enforcement.

Added note: The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, like several law enforcement agencies, have specifically trained officers to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs other than, or in addition to, alcohol.

he International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) coordinates the International Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

These specifically trained officers are commonly referred to as “drug recognition experts” (DRE).

In addition to these individual evaluations, drug recognition experts serve as educational support for prosecutors and judges in the prosecution of drugged drivers.


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