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Cottage Grove man charged in woman's overdose death

A Cottage Grove man allegedly knew something was wrong with his 20-year-old friend when she was lying unresponsive, but instead of calling police he went to a job interview and she was later pronounced dead.

Those are allegations against Adam D. Wickard, 20, in a criminal complaint charging him with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the Dec. 14, 2013, drug overdose death of Cottage Grove resident Priscilla C. Friest.

“The defendant admitted that he ‘woke up next to a dead person,’” states the criminal complaint filed April 30 in Washington County District Court.

According to that criminal complaint:

Friest, Wickard and two other friends were drinking rum at Friest’s Jasmine Avenue home the night of Dec. 13. One of the friends would later tell police that the other friend accused Wickard of getting Friest involved with heroin. Wickard and Friest then left the home to go to McDonald’s.

Wickard later told investigators that Friest was extremely intoxicated when they returned from getting food and she could not talk. He carried her downstairs and by 3:30 a.m. she was going in and out of consciousness.Wickard said her breathing was “really, really slow and faint.” He fell asleep with her and when he woke up he feared she was dead.

Wickard admitted to police that he went to a job interview instead of calling 911.

Wickard reportedly told an ex-girlfriend at 9:30 a.m. that morning that Friest was dead. The ex-girlfriend told police he invited her to see Friest’s body to prove she was dead, but the she declined. She didn’t believe Wickard because of his “calm demeanor,” the complaint states.

Later that day Wickard went to visit one of the friends who had been drinking with him and said something was wrong.

An autopsy concluded that Friest died from methadone toxicity.

Authorities conducted a forensic examination of Wickard’s cellphone which “illustrated a lengthy history of dealing illegal and prescription controlled substances.”

Wickard’s felony manslaughter charge alleges he caused Friest’s death by culpable negligence by creating an unreasonable risk and consciously taking chances of causing death. It’s a felony punishable with up to a 10-year sentence and $20,000 fine.

Authorities had arrested Wickard shortly after Friest’s death on suspicion of the same charge, but released him as they continued to investigate the case.