First responders are now dealing with motorist overdosing while driving

WOOD RIVER, IL - A terrifying crash on busy Illinois Route 3 remains under investigation Wednesday.

First responders with the Wood River Fire Department attended to a man and woman who were suspected of a heroin dose after their car crashed into the guard rail.

“It’s a very sad reality,” said Captain Wade Stahlhut.

Stahlhut said that both people had to be revived on the scene with Narcan.

“Unfortunately, when it happens when people are driving that creates another issue and obviously this could’ve been very tragic for the individuals using the opioids,” Stahlhut said.

Stahlhut said his paramedics are constantly running out to calls for heroin overdose. He estimates the department handles four to six heroin doses a month.

“The heroin epidemic basically has been a growing issue throughout many communities in our area on both sides of the river,” he said, “and we see that our call volume has increased greatly over the last year to two years it seems.”

“Since I found recovery, it’s been a joy,” said Ty Bechel who is a recovering addict for a little over five years.

“There’s a lot of things that I’ve been able to accomplish.”

One of those accomplishments he said is starting a local non-profit called Amare, which in Italian means ‘Love.’

Bechel said that through the organization he has been able to share his personal experience in order to help others trying to get out of what he calls is a vicious cycle.

“They’re going to have to go to any length to hold on to recovery,” Bechel said, “finding a spiritual angle or developing a God of your understanding to find something to fill that hole that drugs and alcohol couldn’t just fill.”

The fire-station conducts a local anti-drug program where volunteer firefighters visit various local school districts and speak with high school students.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with drug addiction, visit Amare’s Facebook page.