MOUNT CARMEL — A Mount Carmel man accused of delivering heroin that resulted in an overdose death in October waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Ryan Patrick Chambers, 23, who had his legs and arms shackled during his appearance before Magisterial District Judge William Cole, was ordered to appear for plea court April 16 at Northumberland County Courthouse.
Chambers, who was represented by county public defender John Broda, told the judge he understood the ramifications of forfeiting his right to a hearing and did not ask any questions about his case.
Chambers and Broda both declined comment to the media after the legal proceeding.
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz, who is prosecuting the case, said, “The commonwealth is ready to engage in discovery with the defense and take this matter to trial as soon as possible.”
Chambers, who remains in SCI-Mahanoy on a parole violation, is charged by Mount Carmel Police Chief Christopher Buhay with a felony of drug delivery resulting in death, two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and misdemeanors of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia relating to the Oct. 27 death of Matthew Santangelo.
Santangelo was found unresponsive by Chambers in a third-floor bedroom at 119 S. Maple St. Police said Chambers called 9-1-1, but when police arrived, Santangelo was not breathing.
As EMS personnel began CPR, Buhay said he saw a syringe sticking into the carpet, a black belt near Santangelo’s left arm and drug paraphernalia on a dresser.
Chambers allegedly provided Patrolman William Adamski with an incorrect date of birth and fled the residence as officers and EMS personnel tended to Santangelo.
EMS personnel were unable to revive Santangelo and he was pronounced dead at the scene by Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley, who said the cause of death was the result of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
Buhay spoke with Chambers at Mount Carmel Police Department on Oct. 31. Chambers told police he purchased heroin from an unnamed person, who bought it out of state. On the day of the incident, Chambers said he was communicating with Santangelo on Facebook messenger and claimed Santangelo agreed to pick him up in Ashland so they “could get high.”
Chambers said they went to the Maple Street residence to pick up items from the bedroom of Santangelo’s daughter before deciding to use the heroin there. Chambers said he prepared two bags of heroin for use and went to the bathroom. Upon returning, Chambers said he found Santangelo passed out on the floor after allegedly injecting two prepared packets and two additional packets.
Chambers said he attempted CPR and yelled for a resident of the home for help before calling 9-1-1. After speaking with Adamski at the scene, he asked to be excused to smoke a cigarette, then allegedly took off on foot for several blocks.
Police spoke with Chambers again on Dec. 13 and said he confirmed his previous story and said he had several packets of heroin in his pocket when he fled the Maple Street home.