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Alleged Drug-Impaired Driver Hit Bicyclist, Utility Pole: Police

Passenger in 2 crashes told police he saw Upper Nazareth driver inject himself with heroin before the ride, court records say.

By Jack Tobias

A 20-year-old driver allegedly under the influence of heroin and xanax hit a bicyclist from behind along Easton Avenue on Monday night, police said.

Then, about an hour later as police searched for the hit-and-run driver, he smashed his car into a utility pole on Linden Street, court records say.

Ottmar William Hagerty Jr. of Upper Nazareth Township admitted to police he took xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, about two hours before driving. Although officers believed he was intoxicated, he did not smell of alcohol, an arrest affidavit says.

But Hagerty's passenger told police he witnessed the driver inject himself with heroin before the crashes, the affidavit says. The passenger admitted to sleeping through much of the ride in Hagerty's 1999 red Chevrolet Cavalier, but said he was awakened by both crashes.

An eyewitness who saw the collision with the bicyclist was able to provide police with a license plate number, which came in handy after Hagerty's car crashed into the utility pole.

A criminal complaint filed by city Officer Nicholas Lechman tells the following story:

  • The bicyclist was riding on the shoulder of Easton Avenue just west of Lincoln Street when he was hit. Police found him lying on the roadway next to the bike, which had extensive damage to the rear wheel and rear frame.
  • The woman driving behind the Cavalier said the car was weaving and crossed the center yellow lines twice. She saw the car hit the bicyclist, then continue east on Easton Avenue. She got sight of the license plate number and repeated it back to police. It came back to a car owned by Hagerty.
  • About an hour later, there was a report of a car hitting a utility pole on the 2900 block of Linden Street, which is near the Butztown Road intersection. The license plate matched that of the Cavalier.
  • The car suffered "crushing damage" to its front and right side. But there also was damage to the windshield and several scrape marks across the top of the windshield and across the right side of the roof—things consistent with a car hitting a bicycle.
Hagerty, of 563 W. Beil Ave., was charged with DUI, careless driving, duty to give information and render aid, and accident involving death or personal injury.

He was arraigned at 1:30 Tuesday morning by on-duty District Judge Todd Strohe of Bangor and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail.

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