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Police investigating 'huffing' incident

5/13/2014

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

An 18-year-old Hays man suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries in a crash after his car crossed two lanes of traffic on Vine, went through a ditch and across an access road.

The front of his car came to rest approximately 6 feet in the air, suspended on a pole, the back tires wedged against concrete, according to the Hays Police Department.

Hays Police Chief Don Schiebler wouldn't identify the driver, pending the filing of charges, but he said the accident, reported shortly before midnight Sunday, the 1300 block of Vine, apparently occurred when the driver lost control after "huffing" the contents from an aerosol can.

Scheibler said the driver suffered serious facial injures and was taken to Hays Medical Center.

While it's not an everyday occurrence, huffing -- inhaling the contents of an aerosol can -- is another way for people to get high.

Hays Assistant Police Chief Brian Dawson said the effects of the huffing can be addictive.

"They get addicted to the high," Scheibler added. "This is very dangerous. This has the potential to kill you."

It killed an over-the-road trucker in Hays in 2012, when he was found passed out in the cab of his truck in early April 2012.

He was hospitalized and died a few days later, the official cause of death associated with huffing. Several aerosol cans were found in the cab of the truck.

Inhaling the aerosol displaces oxygen, and if too much is inhaled it can lead to death.

Neither Dawson nor Scheibler could say how often huffing occurs.

"Every now and then, we have one dropped in our lap," Dawson said.

Sunday's accident remains under investigation, Scheibler said, and could result in the filing of charges, including driving under the influence, left of center, unlawful use of toxic vapors and endangerment of a child.

Scheibler said the incident could have been much worse.

"The driver could have been killed from huffing alone," he said. "We dodged the bullet on this one."