Woman calls 911 to report drug overdose, ends up going to jail - KMOV.com

Woman calls 911 to report drug overdose, ends up going to jail

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Hundreds of people are overdosing and dying on prescription pills and heroin every year in the St. Louis area.

Madison county Illinois is one of the area's hardest hit. It's a county that is cracking down hard on drug-related crime, but critics question if the prosecutor became too aggressive pursuing one addict.

Our story begins four years ago. Angie Halliday had been using prescription sedatives and heroin for years, selling the pills so she could buy cheaper and more powerful heroin.

In April 2011, Ben Berkenbile bought some of the pills, and apparently sold them to buy heroin, then overdosed and died. A month later, Halliday's boyfriend, Josh Rogers overdosed in the motel room where he stayed with Halliday. Despite Halliday calling 9111, it was too late. Josh Rogers was dead.

"I knew when I called 9-1-1 I was going to jail, but I did it anyway," Halliday told News 4.

State's Attorney Tom Gibbons charged her with two counts of drug induced homicide. If convicted, she faced up to 30 years in prison.

"Her participation was much greater than she's willing to admit. I feel like she bears part of the responsibility," said Gibbons.

The evidence showed that Halliday provided pills, but didn't buy the heroin and wasn't there when Ben and Josh purchased or used it.

The homicide case was thrown out because the drug buy happened in Missouri, not Illinois, but Halliday pleaded guilty to possessing drugs near a school, one that was right across the road from the motel. She served two years behind bars. Not long after she got out, Halliday was using drugs again.

A few months later, she made another call. The friend who overdosed told police that Halliday had injected her with heroin, an allegation Angie denies.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons charged Halliday with aggravated battery, and once again she faced years in prison.

"I don't think it's appropriate to see her as a victim. She was taking a very active, personal role that caused a lot of harm to people," Gibbon's told News 4

The jury disagreed, and found her not guilty, but Halliday still went back to prison on a parole violation, serving a total of another 8 months behind bars.

This week, News 4 went with her to a local methadone clinic, where she receives doses of the drug that will hopefully help her avoid the temptation to return to heroin, the cause of so much misery in her life and for the people around her.

Illinois has a Good Samaritan law that is supposed to protect drug users from prosecution if they call to report an overdose. The law didn't protect Halliday from being charged because Gibbons charged her with aggravated battery, a charge allowed under the Good Samaritan law.

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