New Haven custodian on unpaid leave after arrest in overdose case

(WTNH/ Josh Scheinblum)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — After his arrest in connection to a string of deadly overdoses in New Haven, a custodian at the Lincoln Bassett School has been placed on unpaid leave.

48-year-old Steven Whaley is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. He has worked for the school district for more than 10 years.

Whaley, along with 57-year-old Frank Pina, and 55-year-old Jerome Clay, Sr., were arrested after three people died after overdosing late last week. Those overdoses led to the city of New Haven declaring a public health emergency.

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Prosecutors allege that the victims thought they were purchasing cocaine, but the substance turned out to be pure fentanyl, which can be 50 times greater than heroin.

A spokesperson for the New Haven School District says that there is no indication that students have had any exposure to the incident, but Whaley will remain on unpaid leave until addition information from the investigation becomes available.

The District says it will move forward with additional measures on Whaley’s employment as the investigation continues.