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Overdose behind car accident on I-97

Naloxone used to revive driver
Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 18:29:02-04

Killed by an overdosed driver as he walked on this sidewalk in Arnold with his mother and little brother, the family hasn't even had time to bury 12-year-old Matthew Murphy when word comes that another driver lost control of his vehicle in a similar fashion just seven miles away.

"It happening again on 50 and 97, I just... it's an epidemic we have to get under control as a country, as a state, county---however you look at it," said JeriLynn Davidge as she stood near a makeshift memorial erected in Murphy’s memory.
    
Here in the southbound lanes of Interstate 97 on Wednesday night, police say 26-year-old Justin Michael Bennett of Grasonville struck another car in what's described as a relatively minor fender bender, but if not for a trooper and an off-duty paramedic who administered several doses of Naloxone, the driver would have died on the scene.

"He found the driver in the vehicle that was at fault had overdosed from heroin, and believe it or not, he told police that he obtained this heroin in Baltimore City and he was heading home to the Eastern Shore," said Elena Russo of the Maryland State Police.

While the number of overdoses and deaths continue to climb in Anne Arundel County, they in no way account for incidents of drugging and driving, which pose a risk to anyone who lies in their path.

"Apparently, the gentleman that... the incident happened here on Sunday... lives just around the corner," said Davidge, "The reason he nodded out or whatever happened and he was passed out in his car was because of the drug use."
    
It is a painful point not lost upon Austin Coleman who often babysat for Matthew Murphy and grew close to the young boy and his family.

"I don't know why people can't just wait until they get home," said Coleman, "I don't think it's right to play God's role, and that's exactly what he was doing by messing with drugs.  He was playing God's role."

It appears this drugging and driving happens more than we may be aware of.
    
Earlier this year, Maryland State Police report they also found a man overdosed behind the wheel of a car stopped in the middle of the road in North East with the engine still running.
    
Investigators are awaiting toxicology tests on last night's driver on I-97 before they determine what charges he'll face.