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Police: Driver high on heroin when he struck a pedestrian faces charges

John Joyce
505-5432/@JohnJoyceYD
  • State police say Tyler Connelly was driving while high on heroin when he struck a woman from behind.
  • The woman spent time in a medically induced coma and is at risk of losing her legs, a police report said.
  • Blood tests show Connelly also had cocaine and amphetamines in his system, according to the report. He now faces several charges.

A Newberry Township man was high on heroin and dozing off when he struck a woman unloading groceries from her car on Roosevelt Avenue, according to a state police report.

At the time the report was filed, Cheyann Miller was listed as being "in a medically induced coma, in danger of losing her legs and fighting for her life," the report said.

Tyler James Connelly, 25, of 700 Cassell Road Apt. 27, is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, causing an accident that resulted in death or injury while not properly licensed, aggravated assault by vehicle, careless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Tyler James Connelly

According to charging documents filed Aug. 17, Connelly ingested four bags of heroin sometime within two hours of running his 2007 Saturn Ion into MIller without braking or swerving on Aug. 10 as she unloaded groceries from the back of her car in the 700 block of Roosevelt Ave.

Miller's Chevrolet Suburban was legally parked in front of her residence when Connelly drifted out of his lane and drove his Saturn "right into" her, crushing her between his vehicle's front end and her vehicle's rear end, the documents said.

The wreck happened at 3:58 p.m. Police arrived on scene to find Miller lying on the ground, pale and unconscious and with large lacerations to her legs, according to the documents.

Connelly's car had "heavy front-end damage," from the collision, the documents said.

Passenger: Connelly was not alone in his vehicle at the time of the accident. A passenger in the vehicle identified in the report as Michael Brooks told police Connelly had picked him up at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the accident. Both men were "dope sick" and in need of heroin, the report said.

After picking up 10 bags of heroin in the 200 block of Roosevelt Avenue in York City, the two men agreed to take the drugs immediately, according to the documents.

Connelly ingested four bags of dope and gave two bags to Brooks, which he ingested, the report said. Connelly continued to drive around and was dozing off from the heroin he used, Brooks told police. He said he was looking down at his phone when Connelly struck Miller, according to the report, and he felt an "abrupt impact."

Connelly did not have a valid driver's license at the time of the wreck. According to the report, Connelly's driving privileges have been suspended or revoked for the better part of the last eight years, since a DUI conviction in 2008 and another in 2009, the documents said. His license has been actively suspended since 2012, the documents said.

According to the documents, blood drawn from Connelly at York Hospital immediately after the wreck showed that he had amphetamines, cocaine and opiates in his system at the time of the incident.

Coroner: Drug-related deaths down, heroin deaths up

Information removed from the event data recorder (EDR) on Connelly's car showed he was driving 29 miles per hour at the time of impact, the report said. The data also showed that Connelly did not brake, the car had no mechanical failures and no driver input was detected one second before impact, according to the documents.

York Hospital officials said Sunday that Miller's condition had improved slightly. A house supervisor said she was listed as stable.

— Reach John Joyce atjjoyce2@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter @JohnJoyceYD.