Former GH man gets jail time for possession of heroin

Becky Vargo • Apr 24, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Despite knowing that a death was involved, Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Hulsing said that could not be factored in when he ordered a former Grand Haven man to jail for 90 days on a drug possession conviction.

The judge called the incident “tragic.”

Philip Noah Bell, 34, has already been in jail for 60 days. He will spend another 30 days in jail for a total 90-day sentence on a charge of possession of heroin. He will be on probation for one year once he is out of jail and his driver’s license will be suspended for one year. 

Bell was not charged with anything related to the Oct. 27, 2017, overdose death of his girlfriend, 25-year-old Tori Houghtaling. 

Defense attorney Phil Sielski said that the Good Samaritan Law came into play in this case.

During a drug overdose, a quick response can save a life. However, people illegally using drugs sometimes fail to seek medical attention during an overdose for fear of alerting police to their illegal drug use.

A 2016 Michigan law allows someone to seek help for himself/herself or someone else without fear of prosecution.

Sielski said that Bell and his girlfriend consumed drugs at their Grand Haven home and fell asleep. Bell woke up, but Houghtaling did not, Sielski said. Bell called for help, but Houghtaling did not survive.

Family members in the courtroom on Monday declined to comment.

According to her obituary, Houghtaling was a 2010 Muskegon Catholic Central High School graduate. She is survived by her son, Tyler Bell, as well as her parents, Scott and Ruth Houghtaling of Muskegon.

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