Three people found unconscious from heroin in car, driver arrested, police say

Vincent J. Oshana

BERNE — Around 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursday, a person driving on Route 156 in Berne saw a car stopped in the middle of the road, still running. Looking inside the Chevy Malibu, the passerby saw three people were unconscious and called 9-1-1, said Chief Deputy William Rice, of the Albany County Sheriff’s office.

The three people in the car, Rice said, had all overdosed on heroin: A 33-year-old woman was unconscious and not breathing; a 55-year-old male was unconscious, not breathing, and did not have pulse; the driver, 41-year-old Vincent J. Oshana, was unconscious.

Emergency medical technicians from the sheriff’s office arrived on the scene first; volunteers from Helderberg Ambulance and the Berne Volunteer Fire Company, as well as sheriff’s deputies also arrived, said Rice.

Narcan — a brand name for naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids — was used by the emergency medical technicians to revive two of the people before the EMTs ran out of the drug; sheriff’s deputies provided Narcan to revive the third person, said Rice.

Police are not releasing the names of the passengers.

When Oshana was revived, he began fighting with first responders and refusing to go to the hospital, said Rice. He was brought to St. Peter’s Hospital for treatment and for a mental-health evaluation.

After police secured a blood sample at the hospital, Oshana was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor, as well as for parking in a roadway and not using his hazard lights, both violations.

Rice said police had a picture of Oshana because of a previous arrest.

Mary Alice Molgard, of the Berne Fire District, said that the fire company helped close the road off from traffic.

Oshana was issued appearance tickets and is due in Berne Town Court on April 23. The two passengers were brought to Albany Medical Center. Rice said that all three people were conscious and alert when brought to the two hospitals.

All three people were from Catskill, said Rice. It is not known why they were in Berne, but he said it is common for heroin addicts to drive somewhere, shoot up, and continue to drive.

“They were just getting high and driving around … ,” he said. “It’s up in the Hilltowns, it’s definitely an issue,” he added.

Rice concluded that thankfully the response was quick enough to revive the three people.

More Hilltowns News