PITTSFIELD -- Police say a Richmond man told them he injected up 15 bags of heroin an hour before he crashed his car on Merrill Road on Wednesday.

Pittsfield Police say Tyler Renton, 23, of Osceola Extension, was passed out behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf, which was parked in front of a Kittredge Road home at about 9 a.m.

When the resident approached and asked the car to move, Renton's passenger told her they couldn't since Renton was passed out.

The car eventually took off, smashed into the woman's garbage cans and strewing trash before driving through the intersection of Cheshire Road and onto another home's lawn.

When that homeowner approached the car, Renton and his passenger appeared "unable to speak or function normally." As the woman dialed 911, the car took off.

A third witness, driving behind Renton's vehicle, also called 911 and later told police the car had been swerving all over the road as if the driver "didn't know how to drive."

Renton's car failed a turn and crashed on Merrill Road, uprooting a tree and coming to rest in a ditch near a railway berg.

When police approached the damaged car, Renton was still behind the wheel. He was unable to formulate complete sentences and was swaying in his seat with his eyes rolling back into his head, according to a probable cause report.

Renton was transported to Berkshire Medical Center for observation and told the emergency medical technician this was the "best day of [his] life" and could only get better if he was "riding a 12 point unicorn," according to the police report.


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While at the hospital, Renton allegedly told medical staff he had a 15 bag a day heroin habit, but would "shoot up anything" he could, including cocaine and pills.

When told he should think about getting into a methadone program, he allegedly replied, "I will never do methadone. Meth is for quitters," according to the police report. He later passed out and was unresponsive for several hours, said police.

The 20-year-old passenger was not arrested.

On Thursday in Central Berkshire District Court, Renton denied misdemeanor charges of drugged driving as a subsequent offense, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and a marked lanes violation.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jason Lederman told the court Renton was "a danger to the community" who admitted to police he "had no intention of quitting" drugs.

He said the defendant had a previous drunk driving conviction in New York state, and had an open case out of Southern Berkshire District Court in connection with a July breaking and entering in West Stockbridge in which a handgun and a shotgun had been stolen.

Lederman asked for $5,000 cash bail on the new case and that the defendant's bail be revoked on the older case.

Renton's lawyer, Ryan D. Smith, argued that his client had no history of violent crimes and always showed up for court.

"Drugs are the underlying issue," Renton told the court. "This is a disease he's fighting."

He asked that bail be set at $2,500.

On the South County case, Smith said his client wasn't involved in the break-in, in which another man is facing charges, and that Renton returned the shotgun to its owner, who is a relative of his.

"It's a weak case," Smith said

Judge Paul M. Vrabel ordered Renton's bail revoked on his earlier case and set bail at $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety bail.

Renton can be held for up to 60 days in jail without bail.

The defendant's most recent brush with the law came when he was arrested just across the New York border in Canaan in September.

The New York State Police pulled Renton over on the New York State Thruway for not having adequate lights or an inspection sticker.

Renton was allegedly found in possession of a small amount of heroin, while one of his passengers, Yamilex S. Rivera, 18, of Pittsfield, allegedly had 100 grams of cocaine.

A second passenger, 36-year-old Efrain Gonalez, of New York City, was allegedly wanted in New Jersey on drug charges.

It was unclear whether Renton's charges in New York state had been disposed of as of press time.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx