Man charged with supplying heroin in overdose

Smith allegedly delayed getting victim help, tampered with evidence

An Altoona man faces charges he sold heroin that led to a near-fatal overdose.

William J. Smith, 49, of 612 First Ave., is charged by Altoona police with tampering with evidence along with felony and misdemeanor drug charges stemming from the late November heroin overdose of an Altoona man.

According to charges filed before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio, Smith allegedly sold heroin to a man on Nov. 27 at his home. When the man overdosed after snorting the heroin while sitting at Smith’s kitchen table, Smith allegedly delayed getting him help.

Instead, Smith tried to revive the man with ice packs and called friends for help. Smith then tried splashing water on the man as he lay on the floor unconscious.

Smith then drove to a local pharmacy to buy two doses of Narcan, leaving the man on the floor. When the Narcan failed to revive the man, Smith allegedly called 911 but didn’t tell the dispatcher it was an overdose.

Police said Smith told 911 that the man had fallen, which hampered emergency personnel at the scene.

It also meant Altoona police were not dispatched to Smith’s house so evidence could be collected, Altoona police noted.

The man survived, and when he spoke to police on Dec. 11 at Health South Altoona, the man said he could not remember anything about Nov. 27, except waking up in the hospital.

The man said he bought prescription painkillers from Smith regularly and on occasion bought heroin from him.

He said he arranged with Smith to buy a bag of heroin on Nov. 26 but had no memory of the next day, the day he overdosed.

Police said the man has “serious and lasting medical problems” that could have been prevented had he received medical attention sooner.

When questioned by police, Smith denied knowing anything about the victim’s drug use and denied supplying him with the heroin. Smith did admit he texted and called friends, left his home to buy Narcan and waited a long time to call 911 when the man overdosed. Police noted Smith initially claimed he already had Narcan at his home but then allegedly admitted he left to go buy it at the pharmacy. He also admitted he had sold the man painkillers in the past, police added.

Smith was released on a unsecured $50,000 bond after his arraignment Thursday night. A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court.