Two arrested after overdose death

Two men were arrested Sunday and charged with involuntary manslaughter for their alleged involvement in an overdose of a 31-year-old woman.

Jeremy J. Pitts, 38, of Lacarne, and Steven M. Phillips, 32, of Port Clinton, had warrants out for their arrest issued by the Ottawa County Municipal Court. Each was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, following the death of Sarah Hetrick early Sunday.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation and according to a report by Detective Joel Barton, Pitts made a cell phone call to Phillips at 12:56 a.m. Sunday telling him that he needed to come to his house in Lacarne due to an emergency. According to the report, at the time of the call Phillips did not think it was "really an emergency."

Phillips arrived at Pitts' residence in the 5500 block of West Erie Street about 30 minutes after the call. He told police that he saw Hetrick on the floor and that she was hardly breathing, but Pitts told him he didn't want to contact emergency medical services or law enforcement.

About 45 minutes later, Pitts put Hetrick in a vehicle and Phillips began driving her to the hospital. Phillips said as soon as he got in the vehicle, he called 911 at 2:16 a.m. to report the overdose. The vehicle was pulled over by an Ohio Highway Patrol officer for speeding and EMS was dispatched to the scene.

Efforts to revive Hetrick were unsuccessful. She was taken to Magruder Hospital and later pronounced dead.

More than an hour passed between the first call Pitts made to Phillips and Phillips' 911 call. Phillips told the detective he thought Hetrick could have been saved if EMS would have been called earlier.

The sheriff's office, the Ottawa County Drug Task Force and the Port Clinton Police Department assisted in making the arrests.

Both Pitts and Phillips are being held without bond at the Ottawa County Detention Facility.

Pitts is also awaiting trial for fifth-degree felony charges of trafficking drugs. He was released on bond in August.

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