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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: September 8, 2021

‘Huffing’ Suspect Arrested Again, in Less Than 24 Hours, for DUI

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‘Huffing’ Suspect Arrested Again, in Less Than 24 Hours, for DUI

 

Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 42-year-old Christopher J. Rangel, a second time in less than 24 hours, for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs.  In addition, Rangel was charged with Hit and Run with Property Damage.   

 

On September 3, 2021, at approximately 9:55 pm., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a possible DUI-related crash at North Spokane RV Campground located at 10904 N. Newport Highway.  

 

When Deputy Hicks arrived, he observed a black BMW crashed into a silver Jeep Cherokee.   The driver and sole occupant of the BMW, later identified as 42-year-old Christopher J. Rangel, was still sitting in the driver’s seat.  Rangel appeared to be passed out and holding a can of “Dust Off” keyboard cleaner in his hands.  

 

Witnesses at the scene told Deputy Taylor Smith, Rangel drove his BMW through a closed gate and into the campground, where he crashed into the silver Jeep.  Rangel put the car in reverse, spinning the tire of his BMW as he attempted to leave.  Several witnesses approached Rangel, told him to stop and wait for law enforcement to arrive.     

 

Deputy Hicks knocked on Rangel’s window and announced, “Sheriff’s Office”.  Rangel appeared to wake up and stared right at Deputy Hicks but seemed to be disoriented.  Rangel then inserted the can of “Dust Off” in his mouth and inhaled, similar to how someone would use a rescue inhaler.  

 

With Rangel’s erratic behavior, Deputy Hick had him exit his vehicle and detained him.   Deputy Overbay and Deputy Spencer arrived to assist, both noting Rangel had just been arrested the night before for DUI after inhaling keyboard duster.  

 

Later, Deputy Spencer, a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), conducted an evaluation and determined Rangel was under the influence of an inhalant and too impaired to operate a motor vehicle safely.

 

Deputy Hick’s requested and was granted a search warrant to obtain a sample of Rangel’s blood for evidentiary testing.

 

The campground owner estimated the damage to the gate/fence caused by Rangel’s actions at over $5,000.        

 

Rangel was transported and booked into the Spokane County Jail DUI and Hit and Run with Property Damage.  

 

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Rangel_Crash 

Release from September 7, 2021:

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

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