Police say ‘huffing’ leads to several wrecks Monday morning

“Huffing” — the breathing in of vapors to produce a high — reportedly led to several collisions, including one with a home on Sumner Avenue, Saturday morning.

Around 8 a.m. Saturday, Hoquiam police officers were dispatched to a home off the alley in the 2900 block of Sumner Avenue. The resident said she heard and felt the crash when a car struck the home, said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers.

“As officers were responding, the reporting party advised the driver of the Maxima was driving away from the scene after asking the homeowner to retrieve a piece of paper and pen to exchange information,” said Myers. “When the homeowner went inside the house, the driver pulled out and was last observed driving down the alley.”

Officers arrived at the scene and observed damage to a corner of the house where the suspect vehicle had glanced off the edge before colliding with a pickup parked behind an adjacent garage. The impact pushed the truck into a nearby chain-link fence.

“Another neighbor happened to recognize the suspect as a 40-year old Aberdeen man,” said Myers.

As officers were dealing with the paperwork for the collision to the house and the collision with the parked truck, E911 dispatch advised Aberdeen Police units of a collision which had just occurred on Port Industrial Way at Maple Street. The described vehicle involved was the same Nissan Maxima; the driver was observed walking away from the scene, said Myers.

Aberdeen and Hoquiam officers arrived at the collision and found the suspect vehicle had suffered extensive front end damage, to include airbag deployment. The vehicle had apparently left the roadway and struck the railroad crossing post and crossing arm, bending the arm back 45 degrees.

“While Aberdeen officers investigated this third collision, Aberdeen and Hoquiam officers attempted to locate the suspect, who was last on foot in the area; they also traveled to his address where they contacted a roommate, but they could not locate the suspect at that time,” said Myers. Officers left messages for the suspect to contact the police.

About two hours later, the suspect was dropped off at the Hoquiam Police Department by a friend. He had visible injuries to his head consistent with the collision(s) and admitted he had been driving the car during all three collisions, said Myers. He also admitted he knew his license was suspended.

As officers discussed the situation with the suspect, according to police, he also admitted to having a “huffing” addiction and indicated he had purchased two cans of Dust-Off, a compressed gas duster use to clean keyboards and the like, prior to the first collision.

“The suspect admitted he was ‘huffing’ as he was driving, which caused him to black-out and hit the house and then the parked truck,” said Myers. “He denied ‘huffing’ after he left the scene and claimed he had only crashed on Port Industrial in Aberdeen because his car was smoking from the first two collisions in Hoquiam.”

After the crash with the railroad crossing, the driver said he hid in the area for a while before walking home and deciding it would be best to turn himself in, according to police. The suspect was cited for driving while license suspended, hit and run (attended) and will be submitted for negligent driving, said Myers. He will also likely face similar charges in Aberdeen.