Officer catches man using drug in vehicle

When Montoursville Patrolman Kurt Hockman approached Erik Balliet’s parked car in the Walmart parking lot, Balliet, sitting in the driver’s seat with a hypodermic needle in his hand, was just about to inject a drug into one of his arms, according to court records.

Balliet dropped the needle on the passenger seat when Hockman startled the 32-year-old Muncy area man by opening the driver’s door that was unlocked. The car’s engine was running, police said.

Balliet was taken into custody without incident by Hockman, who responded to the parking lot at 1015 N. Loyalsock Ave. on Sept. 30 after a passerby spotted a driver using a needle in the vehicle.

Balliet told the officer he “blew a vein on a previous attempt to inject himself,” court records state.

The officer recovered three used hypodermic needles and an assortment of drugs, including two forms of marijuana, from the vehicle.

Balliet, of 1635 Route 442, submitted a blood sample at the county’s DUI center which revealed he had methamphetamines, fentanyl and other controlled substances in his system, Hockman said.

Balliet was recently charged with driving under the influence of controlled substances, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday, but a bench warrant for his arrest was expected to be filed this week after he failed to appear for the hearing.