The Richmond Register

February 10, 2011

Police: Passenger likely died from drug overdose

Vehicle was stopped on I-75 in Richmond

By Lorie Love Hailey
Register Editor

RICHMOND — A Mt. Sterling woman found dead Tuesday in the back seat of a car that had been traveling through Richmond on Interstate 75 likely died of a drug overdose, police said.

Several motorists called police from their cell phones to report an erratic driver, said Kentucky State Police Master Trooper Chris Lanham.

An officer in the area also had observed the car, Lanham said.

At 12:42 p.m., KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Sergeant Michael Simpson stopped the vehicle at the 87.5 mile marker. He was assisted at the scene by Officer Charles Tinsley, who noticed a female passenger in the back seat who appeared to be unresponsive.

“Madison County EMS responded and upon further investigation, she was found to be deceased,” according to a KSP press release.

The driver, Chasity Hall, 31, of Mt. Sterling, and a male passenger, told police they thought Rogers had just decided lay down, according to Lanham.

But their stories did not add up, he said.

“They said they thought she’d been asleep for about 45 minutes,” Lanham said, “But the coroner determined that she had been dead for nearly six hours.”

Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene by Madison County Deputy Coroner Carlos Coyle.

Coyle said results of an autopsy performed Wednesday in Frankfort were inconclusive. Toxicology results will be available in four to six weeks.

Lanham said the trio had been to Florida where they had obtained prescription pain medication from pain management clinics and doctors’ offices. Police “strongly suspect” Rogers died of a drug overdose, Lanham said.

“Florida definitely needs to do something about their laws,” he said, adding that thousands of Kentucky residents go to Florida to feed their drug habits.

Bottles containing prescription painkillers were found inside the vehicle, he said, and Hall and the male passenger appeared to be under the influence of prescription medication.

Hall was charged with first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, driving under the influence of drugs, operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The male passenger was charged with failure to report a death. His name was not yet released.

Hall is being held in the Madison County Detention Center in lieu of a $15,000 cash or property bond.

Lorie Love Hailey can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or 624-6690.