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Cottage Grove woman’s friend charged in drug overdose death

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. -- A 20-year-old Cottage Grove woman is dead of a drug overdose, and a friend, who went to a job interview instead of calling authorities, is charged in the case.

Prosecutors accuse Adam David Wickard, 20, of Cottage Grove of knowing something was wrong with the woman, identified in court documents as P.F., but doing nothing about it, which likely contributed to her death.

The Washington County attorney’s office on April 30 charged Wickard with second-degree manslaughter for causing the death of P.F. “by culpable negligence by which said defendant created an unreasonable risk.”

According to a criminal complaint, Wickard and P.F. spent the evening of Dec. 14, 2013, drinking with friends. After 2 a.m., they reportedly left to get food.

About 2 a.m., one of the friends accused Wickard of “getting P.F. involved in heroin,” the complaint said. Shortly after the confrontation, Wickard and P.F. reportedly left to get food.

Wickard told police P.F. couldn’t walk when they got back from getting food and that she was going in and out of consciousness, the complaint said. He recalled that P.F. was breathing “really, really slow and faint” before the couple went to bed.

When Wickard awoke the next morning, “he feared P.F. was deceased,” the complaint said.

But he didn’t call an ambulance. Instead, Wickard went to a job interview, the complaint said. Later in the day, he told friends what happened.

An autopsy revealed that P.F. died of methadone toxicity.

Methadone is a prescription medication used to treat pain or opiate addiction (like heroin). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 5,000 methadone-related fatal overdoses each year in the United States.

Investigators looked at Wickard’s phone records, which they say “illustrated a lengthy history of dealing illegal and prescription controlled substances,” the complaint said. But Wickard was not charged with supplying a lethal dose of any drugs to P.F.

Wickard’s next court appearance is May 23.