Thursday, September 10, 2009

Huffing & Driving: A Fatal Combination

From the Philly.com Daily News in Pennsylvania

Last month, a 20 year old female lost control of her car and drove onto a sidewalk at Delaware County Memorial Hospital striking two female pedestrians; killing one and critically injuring the other. Nicole Gallo, 19 of Clifton Heights was killed instantly when Rachael Jankins, 20 veered off the road, crossed two lanes of traffic, and hit Gallo from behind. Gallo's 20 year old friend sustained multiple injuries from the crash "including a broken back."

Jankins initially told police that she had been “searching for her iPod” prior to the incident; but toxicology reports reveal traces of the chemical difluoroethane to have been present in her system at the time of the crash- a chemical found in computer dusting products. Police also recovered a can of computer duster from the vehicle. Jankins could face charges of vehicular homicide and manslaughter in connection to the crash.

This is not the first time area residents have been confronted with the dangerous reality of inhalant abuse. In 1999, five high school juniors were killed when the car they were riding in hit a tree. The driver and three passengers were found to have difluoroethane in their blood. A can of computer duster was found in the car.

In 2001, a 17 year old honors student was killed when her truck hit a tree after she had been inhaling computer duster.

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