Monday, August 31, 2009

Driver Passes Out In Traffic

From WSAZ News Channel 3 in St. Albans, West Virginia

West Virginia Police issuing a routine vehicle inspection point over the weekend discovered an unmoving vehicle in line to be the cause of traffic back up and delays. Police found the vehicle’s 18 year-old male driver passed out at the wheel along with an unconscious female passenger. Officers believe both were “huffing inhalants” and taking prescription drugs in the car, as a bottle of Oxycodone was recovered from the driver’s possession.

According to police reports the teen driver was also involved in an accident just hours before being discovered unconscious, wherein extensive damage was elicited to a chain link fence bordering a local car dealership. The driver is currently in jail, and is being held on charges related to a handful of crimes including; DUI, simple possession, fleeing the scene of an accident, and driving without a license.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Teens Charged With Vandalism

From WFIE 14 News in Evansville, Indiana

According to a Gibson County heating and air technician (HVac tech) area teens are actively ‘huffing’ refrigerant to get high. Refrigerant, a chemical coolant most commonly found in air conditioners, refrigerators, and car engines contains high concentrations of toxic compounds that can elicit cognitive impairments and limit brain functioning if ingested.

The HVac tech describes the alarming influx of calls he has received over the past few months, all from local customers requesting repairs be made to their ‘faulty’ air conditioning systems. After receiving 10 customer calls in one month from “clients claiming to have similar problems… missing service caps and empty tanks of refrigerant,” the technician called the police- on a hunch that local teens were behind the tamperings.

After a thorough investigation of the vandalized AC units, police confirmed that local teens had in fact been ‘huffing’ the refrigerant - “taking the fill caps off the AC units to access the refrigerant for a quick high.” Several Gibson County teens were implicated in the incidents and are facing stiff penalties for stealing refrigerant. The investigation is ongoing.

Exposure to refrigerant can prompt painful chemical burns, frost bite, permanent vision loss, and even death. These dangers are the reason HVac technicians are required to wear gloves and special eye wear when installing refrigerant into a unit. Many technicians recommend homeowners to purchase special locks for their AC units to deter such acts of vandalism.

Grocery Store Theft

From NewEraProgress.com in Amherst, Virginia

A 36 year-old woman has been charged with petit larceny (theft of objects below $50); inhaling noxious chemicals, and being drunk in public, after she stole several undisclosed items from a local Food Lion grocery store. Police arrested the woman- who was reportedly “huffing inhalants and intoxicated” outside of the store.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Judge To Limit Police Testimony

From the Rapid City Journal in Rapid City, South Dakota

A South Dakota man has been charged with ingesting an inhalant and is facing two additional counts of driving while under the influence in connection to a May 2009 incident that necessitated police involvement. According to police documents, the suspect was stopped by officers “after a citizen reported seeing him drive erratically.” Upon a thorough search of the suspect’s vehicle, officers discovered a can of aerosol computer duster in the back seat- prompting them to administer field sobriety tests on the premise.

As the suspect prepares for trial later this month a surprising revelation has surfaced. The presiding judge has limited police testimony in the case, prohibiting officers from disclosing any details related to the suspect’s bodily responses elicited during field sobriety exams. Specifically, police will be unable to testify about how the suspect’s “eyes responded during testing” (a key test used to conclude the suspect was intoxicated) even though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that “eye movement in a sober individual is different than eye responses from an intoxicated individual.”

In a statement released to the public last Friday, Circuit Court Judge A.P. Fuller explained his decision- believing there to be no scientific evidence available to prove that such an inhalant produces intoxication. Stating, “there’s no science, like on alcohol or on cocaine or opiates or all of the other things that you can ingest that has science behind it…nobody is going to testify until the state can come in and establish the scientific basis for those conclusions.” It seems the suspect’s fate lies in the hands of the jury, as they will determine whether or not he was legally intoxicated.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Teen Faces Public Intoxication Charge

From The Des Moines Register in Iowa

Last week Iowa State University police found a 13-year-old girl unconscious after she had ‘huffed’ the contents of an aerosol can. Police arrived on the scene after receiving reports of a publically intoxicated teen displaying “unusual behavior” in a residential neighborhood, Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses told police that the girl had passed out prior to their arrival, and had been unconscious for quite some time. Investigators recovered an empty aerosol can from the scene. The teen was taken to a nearby medical center for treatment and will be expected to appear in juvenile court facing charges of “delinquency for public intoxication.”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tasered Man Catches On Fire

From The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette in Lancaster, Ohio

A 31 year-old man who was reportedly resisting police arrest, found himself engulfed in flames after officers shot him with a Taser stun gun. Police were notified of the incident, receiving reports from eye-witnesses who saw the suspect running erratically through parking lots adjacent to a busy shopping center, dodging traffic, and spraying aerosol into his mouth.

When police arrived at the scene, one officer was able to catch the suspect and force him down to the ground. Police reports state that the suspect, high from huffing aerosol, struggled with an officer who was trying to handcuff him; allegedly kicking, biting, and “making gestures with his hand as if he were reaching for a firearm in his waistband” requiring a second officer to activate his Taser stun gun to demobilize the suspect.

“One of the officers then spotted a flame on his chest, and both officers quickly patted out the flame.” No one was seriously injured in the incident, but the suspect was taken to a nearby hospital “for treatment of burns to his chest.”

The Lancaster Police Department does have safety policies in place, warning against the use of Tasers when flammable substances may be present. However, Lancaster’s Chief of Police released a statement yesterday announcing the officers acted “appropriately.”

The suspect is being charged with abusing harmful intoxicants, assaulting an officer, and resisting arrest.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tragic Case of 'Chemical' Russian Roulette

From the Warren Tribune Chronicle in Warren, Ohio

A fatal car accident in Champion Township, Ohio is being attributed to “intoxication by inhalants.” Authorities have determined that a can of aerosol computer duster contributed to the August 3rd crash that claimed the life of a local teenager, and seriously injured two others.

The teens, acquainted through various athletic teams were on their way to grab fast food when the driver decided to make a quick stop at Wal-mart; purchasing cigarettes, gum, and a can of “dust remover manufactured for use on a computer keyboard.”

The accident report released earlier this week by the Ohio State Highway Patrol reveals that the vehicle’s driver, 17 year-old Christie Manchester, “inhaled about four bursts from the can over a short period of time, then got a blank stare on her face, her body became rigid, and the car went off the road and hit two trees.”

Manchester suffered severe head and neck trauma in the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene by rescue workers. Both female passengers survived the accident, as 18 year-old Ellen Becker who was seriously injured in the crash is reportedly in intensive care with “no feeling from her waist down,” while 17 year-old Kaylyn Barco was hospitalized and released early last week.

The cause of the accident “went unexplained for several days until a highway patrol trooper conducted an interview with Barco after she left the hospital,” in which she admitted that just prior to the crash Manchester, who was driving, took several huffs from a can of computer duster.

Barco also disclosed that the can was passed around the car several times for each to get high, telling police that “the next thing she knew they went off the road and hit the trees.”

Additional details into the cause of the accident will be released as soon as investigators finish interviewing 18 year-old passenger Ellen Becker. Ohio State Highway Patrol has yet to receive the results of Manchester’s blood tests, but believe neither alcohol nor speed played a role in the crash.

Televised news coverage of the accident can be viewed online at Fox8 News Cleveland.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teen Caught 'Huffing' In Commuter Lot

From The Daily Journal in Vineland, New Jersey

An 18 year-old male was arrested last Thursday evening on charges of “possessing an intoxicating inhalant and inhaling its fumes.” Police found the suspect asleep in a nearby commuter parking lot and notified paramedics. When medical personnel reached the scene, the suspect woke up extremely disheveled and began walking towards an intersection adjacent to the parking lot. A paramedic witnessed the suspect “take a 10-ounce can and inhale it through his noise.” The teen has been charged with illegally inhaling a substance.

Inhalants Still Pose Threat to Jersey Teens

From Shore News Today in Ocean City, New Jersey

New Jersey’s Department of Education has released findings from their annual Student Health Survey- a randomized assessment given to high school students from around the state addressing health related behaviors in six areas; safety and violence, tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, dietary practice, and physical activity. The most recent survey results were collected in the spring of 2007 from a sample of 1,677 students enrolled in 29 public high schools across the state. Findings from the 2007 Student Health Survey reveal that ‘lifetime use of inhalants’ among teens has changed very little from data collections elicited in 2005; maintaining reductions from 2001 levels of lifetime use.

The New Jersey Student Health Survey has been administered to high school students since 1993 in a collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Law and Public Safety. The summary report, the detailed report, and data tables from the 2007 survey can be found at: http://www.nj.gov/education/students/yrbs/

Driver Offers Passengers Duster

From the Staten Island Advance in New York

A 21 year-old woman from Staten Island, New York is being charged with two misdemeanors; second degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child after she offered her two teenage passengers “a hit from an aerosol electronics cleaning canister” (aka ‘duster’) that she herself was inhaling while driving. Police records reveal that the driver offered her 17 and 13 year-old male passengers a can of computer duster to get high; actively demonstrating how to huff the product to both. According to both passengers, the woman “took a puff of the cleaner” and proceeded to hit another vehicle stopped at a traffic light.

Strangely, authorities were not informed as to the cause of the crash until several days later, when one of the passengers revealed to a guardian that the driver had been ‘huffing’ computer duster at the time of the accident. Police quickly detained the driver and charged her with two misdemeanors. She could face additional charges for her possession of a toxic substance. Luckily, no one was seriously injured in the incident.

Monday, August 17, 2009

South Dakota Strengthens Inhalant Detection

From the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota

In Rapid City, South Dakota law enforcement officials are actively educating drivers on the effects and destructive consequences associated with driving while intoxicated; more specifically- driving while under the influence of inhalants. In efforts to increase the detection and visibility of inhalant abuse among drivers, South Dakota’s State Highway Patrol has enlisted 13 certified drug recognition experts to help train local officers to identify the presence of inhalants in substance related vehicle accidents and driving infringements.

South Dakota has recently intensified state-wide efforts to combat the tragic results produced by drivers under the influence of inhalants. In 2006 a 54-year-old Rapid City man was killed after his motorcycle was hit from behind by a teenage driver who was ‘huffing’ computer duster. According to police documents “this [has been] the only vehicular fatality recorded to date in Rapid City where huffing played a role.”

In May 2008 another inhalant related accident took place in Rapid City, leaving an innocent motorist with significant brain trauma after being struck by a “blacked out” driver. The driver, who had passed out as a result of ingesting large quantities of duster received a 10-year suspended prison term for negligent driving.

Rapid City Police Sgt. Sue Fox remains optimistic that this particular accident will be the last major traffic incident involving inhalants in Rapid City.“There is no doubt about how intoxicating [inhalants are],” Fox said. “[Inhalants are] so incredibly intoxicating that people can’t function at all.”

Suspects Caught Red-Handed

From the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, North Carolina

Two young men are facing charges of shoplifting and inhaling toxic vapors after they entered a local Bi-Lo pharmacy store and stole several cans of whipped cream topping. The 21 and 25 year-old suspects were reportedly “inhaling fumes from the cans” while in the store. Police were called to the scene after the men allegedly took four cans from store shelves and exited without paying; each can priced at $4.39. Both were immediately jailed under $500 bonds.

Wisconsin Woman In Trouble With The Law Again!

From WQOW 18 News in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

It seems a Wisconsin woman has made headlines again this week, after she was found in a hotel room passed out and surrounded by over 40 cans of aerosol. Police records reveal that 30 of the cans were empty. Days later, police were called to an area pharmacy after receiving word that a woman was huffing in the bathroom. Officers arrived to find the suspect loitering outside of the store with a shopping bag full of aerosol cans.

This latest incident comes just weeks after the suspect was arrested for her 5th consecutive OWI- operating a vehicle while intoxicated, after she rolled and crashed her truck on a busy interstate highway. Witnesses of the accident told police that she was “huffing keyboard cleaner immediately after the crash.”

Even more strangely, the suspect was involved in yet another ‘huffing related’ car accident back in May 2009; which authorities have now ruled to be the result of ‘intoxication by inhalants.’ Accident reports cite that “when a passing motorist stopped to assist her, offering up a t-shirt for her head wound, she immediately took the shirt and used it to huff.”

The woman is facing stiff legal penalties in connection to her most recent ‘run-ins’ with the law, and will most likely be required to seek treatment for her inhalant addiction. She will remain in jail on a $20,000 cash bond until her court date- set for early next week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Driver Pleads Not Guilty To Fatal Accident

From the Casper Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming

A 23 year old Casper man maintains his innocence in connection to a March 2009 car crash that left a 72-year old local woman dead. Accident reports reveal that the suspect, who was behind the wheel of a Ford pickup truck collided with an oncoming car near an intersection; creating an impact so powerful that it forced both vehicles off the road, and sent the suspect’s vehicle straight into a metal storage container. The car’s 72 year old driver sustained serious injuries in the collision, and despite being transported to an area hospital died shortly thereafter.

The 23 year old driver, who escaped unharmed, failed to pass basic field sobriety evaluations on site. “Tests taken after the crash indicated that the suspect had cocaine in his system.” Police also gathered evidence from the scene to suggest the suspect was high from huffing computer duster at the time of the accident.

The suspect is being charged with driving under the influence and causing bodily injury- which carries a 30 year jail sentence if convicted and found guilty. He will remain in Natrona County Detention Center with a $100,000 bond until his trial- which has yet to be scheduled.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nebraska 'Duster' Gets Busted

From the Lincoln Journal Star in Lincoln, Nebraska

A 31 year old man from Talmage, Nebraska plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of 'inhaling a toxic substance' after he was found ‘huffing’ in a hospital parking garage Monday morning. A hospital guard, (who was also an off duty police officer) was informed of the suspect’s suspicious activities from a passerby who grew concerned after witnessing “a man in a white car” twitch uncontrollably.

The suspect was discovered “slumped over in the front seat of his Chevrolet Lumina on the first floor ramp with a can of dust remover in his hands.” He told the guard that he was visiting a relative in the hospital and had managed to slip away for a few short hours. However, the suspect later admitted to police that during this time he inhaled two full cans of duster; inevitably causing him to pass out and shake uncontrollably. Following the incident, the suspect was jailed on “suspicion of unlawful use of toxic compounds,” and will face additional criminal charges and fines spurring his guilty plea earlier this week.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Police Officers Brace Attack From 'Huffer'

From the Purcell Register in Oklahoma:

A 25 year old man who had been huffing is responsible for injuring two police officers. He was “charged with a felony of assault on a police officer, and three misdemeanors of inhaling a toxic substance, resisting an existing officer and public intoxication.”

An officer confronted the man after the man was “looking around as if he did not know where he was.” As the officer approached, the man “placed a can of computer duster up to his face” and admitted he had been huffing from the can. The man then began to “shake violently, dropping his lighter.” He then started huffing from the can again.

Police officers tried to take the can but the man fought them off. As they handcuffed him, he atatcked them, breaking the hand of one officer. A second officer was injured as they tried to place the man in the car.

A Weak Attempt to Conceal Duster

From the Northwest Florida Daily News:

A 23-year old driver was arrested after a huffing related crash. He was taken to the hospital and charged with inhalation of harmful chemical substances.

The police report states that when the driver's sister “opened the passenger side door, the officer saw the driver remove an aerosol can from his facial area and try to hide it under his shoes." The officer noted that the product was “Office Depot Dust Cleanser” and that the driver had been “inhaling the contents of the can, which explained his erratic behavior.”

18 Year Old Charged with Possession of Inhalants

From the San Angelo Standard Times in Texas:

An 18 year old man “pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful possession of inhalant paraphernalia." He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and his driver’s license suspended by law.

Attack Leaves Victim in the ER

From the Arab Tribune in Alabama:

A 36 year old male was arrested earlier this week after he allegedly attacked a 23 year old female companion, causing her to seek immediate medical attention. Law enforcement officers were informed of the incident by emergency room doctors who cited the victim’s multiple bruises and bite marks as a clear sign of imposed physical trauma.

The victim was able to identify her attacker, allowing police to detain the suspect on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy. The victim later disclosed to police that she believed her attacker was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident, and “had been ‘huffing’ gasoline prior to the assault.

Revised Inhalant Laws in Everett, Washington

From the Snohomish County Tribune in Washington:

The Everett City Council has discussed updating their inhalant related laws. The assistant city attorney mentioned that “more chemicals are being added so the city can align its law with state standards.”

The article continues, “proposed changes would tweak the name of the law to cover “toxic fumes” and abusers would be still charged with a misdemeanor and up to 30 days in jail and/or up to a $100 fine. The amended ordinance reduces the fine by $900. Additionally, people cannot own substances that release toxic fumes or vapors or distribute them if they or the recipient intends to inhale them.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

An Uninvited House Guest

From The Missoulian in Missoula, Montana

A 19-year-old Montana man plead guilty to a single felony count of criminal endangerment in addition to misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and obstructing a police officer earlier this week. The teen is expected to receive extensive legal repercussions for an accident that that left his car demolished and wedged into the side of a Missoula house. On Tuesday the teen confessed to a Missoula City Court Judge that he crashed his car into a house on 39th Street after ‘blacking out’ from ‘huffing’ computer duster with fellow passengers. The teen also revealed to court officials that the duster passed around the car was purchased from a local Wal-mart just minutes before the accident.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aerosol Alters Driver

From The Moultire Observer in Moultrie, Georgia

A 38 year-old Moultrie man was arrested and charged with a DUI earlier this week after he allegedly crossed over North Veterans Parkway in his Saturn SL1. Police were called to the intersection of North Veterans Parkway and Tifton Highway to investigate reports of an intoxicated driver. Officers spoke to passing motorists who witnessed the suspect’s bizarre driving patterns, later disclosing that they had seen him huffing from a can while behind the wheel.

The suspect later revealed to authorities that he had been ‘huffing’ aerosol in a nearby gas station parking lot prior to his driving infraction, appearing noticeably perplexed and unaware of his current surroundings; even telling an officer that he inhaled aerosol to “pass out” after a “bad week.” The suspect was arrested on the scene and is being held at a local jail on charges of “driving while under the influence of an intoxicant” and “failure to maintain a proper driving lane.”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Deadly Stress Reliever

From The Sandusky Register in Ohio

Authorities were called to a local Sandusky Wal-Mart after receiving reports of a man ‘huffing’ aerosol in the store’s parking lot. One officer discovered the man “by some donation bins- rocking back and forth, disoriented, and his face bright red” with a can of pressurized cleaning product at his feet. According to police reports the suspect vehemently denied he was ‘huffing’ the cleaner, but later admitted to officers that he had indeed been inhaling the product due to his very stressful day at work- telling Police ‘huffing’ was an “easy way to make [his] stress go away.” The suspect was arrested on the scene and is awaiting further charges.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Teen Gets High Off Dye

From the Port Clinton News Herald in Ohio

A 17 year old boy was admitted to a local Port Clinton hospital last Thursday after police found him huffing dye in his home. Authorities were dispatched to the boy’s home after receiving a frantic phone call from an undisclosed source, who described the boy’s behavior as “strange and seemingly out of touch with reality.” After a thorough investigation of the premise, officers confiscated a bottle of red dye and a plastic bag from the boy’s room. However, officers were again called to the scene just hours later after receiving a report that the boy had locked himself inside of a bathroom. The boy fled prior to police arrival but was quickly found “acting violently” in a nearby business parking lot, forcing police to admit him to the emergency room. The teen faces unruly juvenile charges in connection with the incident.