Six Drug Overdoses, Two Fatal, in Bellaire This Week

BELLAIRE — Six people overdosed on drugs — two fatally — in Bellaire between Saturday and Wednesday morning, Police Chief Michael Kovalyk told village council members Thursday.

“We believe they were heroin overdoses with some other things mixed in,” he said.

“Two people lost their lives. … In both the fatals, children were left motherless and children were left fatherless. That is sad.”

One person was a man from Bellaire, while the other was a woman from West Virginia. After the meeting, he declined to release their names.

Kovalyk added that people can help the police department possibly prevent more deaths by keeping an eye out for suspected drug houses and deals. For example, houses where people are frequently seen driving up, running inside for a few minutes and quickly leaving may be a sign that drugs are being sold inside.

“The good people of Bellaire, if you see something suspicious, write down the license numbers, makes of vehicles, times of day — record those numbers and give us a call. Write down what people were wearing, what they look like, where they were going, where they were coming from. It all helps,” Kovalyk said.

“It’s not just Bellaire, it’s everywhere. What happens in Bellaire, we make people aware of it and we let people know what our police department is doing — I’ve always done that. I believe it’s necessary we do that. We’re not running our town down, we’re saying we’re going to combat the issues. The people of this town will help this town and we’ll get these people out of here. It’s as simple as that,” he continued.

Kovalyk said it would be helpful to work with landlords who could notify police about when suspected dealers move from place to place.

Councilwoman Nikki Liberatore noted she had heard one of the people who died had been living in a half-way house on Noble Street. Kovalyk said a woman, who is from southern West Virginia, had been living in the Crossroads “recovery house,” but was kicked out for not passing her drug screening there. A day later she died of an overdose, he said.

Liberatore said she was surprised to learn of the halfway house being situated in the village.

“When someone told me that, I about dropped over. … How do we stop that stuff? I’m sure people don’t want that in their neighborhoods,” she said.

Kovalyk said he believed residents of the halfway house are on federal and possible state probation. Bellaire Fire Chief Ricky Smith added he had conducted fire safety inspections of the Crossroads building, but at the time did not realize what it would be used for. He said he was told the group planned to purchase more properties in Bellaire and other municipalities in the Ohio Valley.

The Bellaire man who overdosed died in a house in the village. Someone with him in the house called 911 for help, but it was too late. The man could not be revived.

In an unrelated matter, regarding the May 7 shooting death of West Bellaire resident Brad McGarry, Kovalyk said officers still are looking for the gun used in the crime. David C. Kinney, 30, of Brilliant has been charged with murder in connection with the death.

Kovalyk said people in the community, along with friends and relatives of the victim, who came forward with information helped lead to Kinney’s arrest.

“All those people out there who have home security systems, or businesses that have security systems, make sure they are in operating condition. Because in this incident that proved to be a vital issue as far as times within the investigation. I believe we have a strong case,” he said.