Impaired Driver Arrested After ‘Huffing’ Cans of Keyboard Duster
A Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested an adult male for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs after it was determined he had been huffing cans of keyboard duster. The product is a can of compressed air and gas used to blow dust/debris from computer keyboards.
Inhaling gasses, paint and glue fumes, or other similar products is extremely dangerous and could be life-threatening.
On September 3, 2021, at approximately 1:10 am., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Hunter Ballou responded to a welfare check in the parking lot of a business located in the 12000 block of N. Newport Highway.
Security advised a black BMW arrived and had been sitting for a while in the parking lot after business hours. After approximately 45 minutes, he tried to contact the driver. He illuminated the vehicle and knocked on the window, but the driver, later identified as 42-year-old Christopher J. Rangel, was unresponsive. Believing Rangel might be suffering a medical emergency, he called 911.
Deputy Ballou arrived and noted the vehicle was running and its brake lights were on. He knocked on the driver’s window and initially didn’t receive a response from Rangel. After some additional knocking, Rangel finally came too and opened the driver’s door.
With the door open, Deputy Ballou could see two cans of keyboard duster in the space between the door and the driver’s seat and one can sitting in Rangel’s lap. Rangel appeared dazed and did not sit up or immediately recognize his door was open. After a few seconds, Rangel became more coherent, grabbed the keyboard duster cans, and put them on the passenger’s seat.
Deputy Ballou had Rangel exit the vehicle. Rangel was unsteady and had to use the vehicle at one point to maintain his balance.
When asked about the dusters, Rangel admitted to huffing them. Deputy Ballou could see approximately 10-15 cans of keyboard duster sitting inside the vehicle in addition to a large box of them that appeared half empty.
With Rangel initially sitting in the driver’s seat with the car running and appearing to be intoxicated/high from huffing the content of the cans, Deputy Ballou asked Rangel to participate in standardized field sobriety tests.
Based on the results of the evaluations and evidence, Rangel was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Deputy Ballou requested the assistance of a drug recognition expert (DRE) to assist. Deputy Spencer, a certified DRE, completed his assessment and concluded Rangel was under the influence of an inhalant and was not safe to operate a motor vehicle.
After being advised of his rights, Rangel admitted it was not uncommon for him to huff multiple cans (10 or more) in one sitting.
A search warrant for a blood sample was requested and obtained.
Rangel was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail for DUI.
Additional information about huffing and inhalant abuse can be found on several websites, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/inhalants or the American Addiction Center https://americanaddictioncenters.org/inhalant-abuse/side-effects.