Man caught ‘passed out’ with heroin pleads guilty
— A man is facing up to five years in prison after accepting a plea deal in a case in which officers found him passed out behind the wheel at an Elkton-area intersection and then confiscated heroin.
The defendant, Joshua Amos Kist, 33, of Bear, Del., pleaded guilty to possession of heroin and attempting to operate a motor vehicle while impaired Tuesday. In exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped the most serious count, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and other charges.
Retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge V. Michael Whelan accepted Kist’s guilty pleas. Elkton-based lawyer C. Thomas Brown represented Kist while Assistant State’s Attorney David Parrack prosecuted the case.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 5.
Kist’s co-defendant, Katherine Elizabeth Cotullas, 25, of Magnolia, Del., is facing four years in prison after she also pleaded guilty to possession of heroin in
April, as part of a plea bargain. Her sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 26.
Maryland State Police Tfc. John Wi l d m a n arrested Kist and Cotullas about 5:15 a.m. on Oct. 5, after finding him them passed out inside a parked vehicle at the intersection of Delancey Road and East Pulaski Highway near Elkton, police said.
Wildman had been dispatched to that intersection to check on the people inside the vehicle, later identified as Kist, who was slumped over the wheel with his foot on the brake, and Cotullas, who was slumped over in the front passenger’s seat, police added.
“Both subjects were slumped over and unconscious. I noticed a syringe in plain view on top of the center console. As I peered in the vehicle, I immediately noticed numerous pill bottles scattered around the vehicle,” Wildman wrote in his district court statement of probable cause.
Wildman removed the keys from the ignition and engaged the parking brake, police reported.
The trooper had yelled through the partially open driver’s side window, but Kist and Cotullas did not respond, police said. Wildman shook Kist, also to no avail, prompting him to dispatch paramedics, police added.
Before paramedics arrived, Wildman and a backup trooper were able to rouse Kist and Cotullas, both of whom stumbled as they walked to the police car before sitting on the bumper as instructed, police reported.
“In addition to their previous unconsciousness, they had difficulty walking, appeared to fall asleep while standing and were unable to answer basic questions,” according to court records.
Kist and Cotullas declined medical treatment after paramedics arrived and evaluated them, police said.
Moments later, Kist was placed under arrest because he failed field sobriety tests, police added.
A K-9 unit was dispatched to the scene and the special- ly trained scent dog alerted to the presence of illegal drugs while scanning the vehicle, court records show. That prompted investigators to search the car and the suspects, according to court records.
Investigators found and confiscated drug paraphernalia and narcotics, including about five grams of heroin, a quarter-ounce of marijuana, a “crack” cocaine pipe and 230 prescription painkillers and antidepressant pills in eight bottles, police reported.