Passers-by who saw an unconscious man in a vehicle knocked out a back window in efforts to help him.

The incident — which police later said appeared to be a drug overdose — happened at about 5:48 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of a Ricker’s gas station at 11940 U.S. 31 North, Bartholomew County sheriff’s deputies said.

Witnesses saw Garrett Mack, 25, of Greenwood, passed out in the driver’s seat of a Trailblazer in the driving lane of the parking lot, slumped over the wheel, deputies said. The vehicle’s transmission was in drive mode, they said.

Several passers-by tried repeatedly to wake up the driver, but were unsuccessful, deputies said. They then decided to break the SUV’s back window in order to gain access to the driver, deputies said.

After the rescuers broke out the window, Mack regained consciousness and one of the witnesses saw that Mack had a syringe in his left hand, deputies said.

When deputies Leah Burton and Brent Worman arrived, witnesses said Mack attempted to move the syringe, although deputies later found it on the ground by Mack’s foot.

After Mack was checked by Columbus Regional Hospital medical personnel, he was arrested on a preliminary charge of possession or use of a legend drug-injection device, deputies said.

Mack taken to the Bartholomew County Jail, but later released through the county’s new pre-trial diversion program for offenders, deputies said.

Bartholomew County officials have reported a significant increase in drug overdose or poisoning ambulance runs this year — from 115 for all of 2015 to 156 so far in 2016.

The county’s Emergency Operations Center dispatched ambulances to 29 overdose/poison calls in October and nine so far in November, said Ed Reuter, emergency operations director.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.