WLWT-TV says fuel-company driver Kristopher Phoenix, 36, was found passed out at a gas station in Cleves, Ohio, near Cincinnati. He has been arraigned on charges of felony drug possession and driving under the influence, and was being held on $20,000 bond. A prosecutor called it "an extremely dangerous situation for the public, and we believe a high bond is warranted."
Phoenix's defense attorney, however, said the driver was simply on his lunch break and just taking a nap.
According to police, the driver admitted using heroin, and officers say they found the drug in the truck. Police Chief Rick Jones said, "He was slumped down onto the floor boards, between the pedals and the seat," and officers carefully moved him to ensure that the idling truck wasn't in gear.
"I can't think of a much worse scenario than having a person who's overdosed, in a flammable truck, at a flammable gas station," Jones said.
"Overdosed" may be an overstatement, since the driver quickly awoke and Narcan was not used to revive him. And a worse scenario, of course, would be if a drugged-up gasoline-truck driver were barreling down a crowded interstate. But the situation is the latest to draw attention to Ohio's raging heroin epidemic.
The epidemic is so rampant, public-safety officials say 58 percent of all car crashes in Ohio involve drugs. And you may recall that cold-storage truck trailers were being used to store the growing pile of victims' bodies - the drug killed nearly 2,600 Ohioans in 2015, the most recent year for data. And most likely you remember the heartbreaking photo of the 4-year-old boy strapped into the backseat of a car, with two adults overdosed in the front seat. That was out of Ohio, too, where local officials posted it on their Facebook page and it quickly drew national notoriety.