Driver huffing computer cleaner blacks out, crashes into light pole

A Nissan Altima after hitting a light pole and palm tree on W. Sunset Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An 18-year-old driver was trapped in his vehicle for more than 30 minutes Sunday evening after inhaling computer cleaner while driving on Sunset Boulevard. The result was a temporary loss of consciousness which caused the driver to veer into oncoming traffic before crashing head-on into a light pole and palm tree.

Drivers side of dark gray Nissan Altima after emergency personnel extracted driver from vehicle on W. Sunset Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2016| Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Driver’s side of a dark gray Nissan Altima after emergency personnel extracted a motorist from the vehicle on Sunset Boulevard, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2016| Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just before 7 p.m. Sunday, the St. George Communications Center received a call reporting a single-car collision in front of Chase Bank at about 2000 West Sunset Boulevard, St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said.

Upon arrival at the scene, officers and emergency personnel found a dark-gray Nissan Altima sandwiched between a light pole and palm tree with the driver trapped inside.

After approximately 30 minutes, firefighters were able to free the injured man from the vehicle and transport him to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.

The man was traveling west on W. Sunset Boulevard and crossed over into oncoming traffic as he approached N. Dixie Downs Road. The driver continued veering to the left, ultimately jumping the curb and crashing head-on into the light pole and palm tree with so much force that the car was sandwiched in between the two, causing extensive frontal damage.

The lamp at the top of the street light was knocked loose from the impact and shattered as it hit the rear window of the vehicle, Despain said, spraying glass in all directions.

Dust-Off, a compressed gas used to clean computers, was found inside the vehicle during the investigation, which further revealed that the driver was impaired after inhaling — or huffing — the aerosol. This caused a temporary loss of consciousnesses that resulted in the driver leaving his lane in the first place.

We are just so lucky no other vehicles were involved in this accident,” Despain said, “and are just grateful because it could have been so much worse.”

“We really dodged a bullet on this one,” he said.

The man was later issued a citation at the hospital for improper lane change, no proof of insurance and DUI. The extent and nature of the man’s injuries were unknown at the time of this report.

The St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance responded to the scene, as well as the St. George Department of Public Works to repair the damaged street light.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • ladybugavenger February 8, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    That’ll teach him.

    • .... February 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

      No it won’t ! because when all is said and done it will be the same person doing the same thing in a different car

  • Bowlinggreen123 February 8, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    He should get his license taken away for 10 years! His employer if he has a job should be notified. and his face plastered all over the news.

  • sagemoon February 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Idiot! And I bet he’s hating himself right now for wrecking his new car.

    • .... February 9, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Yeah and now he has to get another can of cleaner

      • sagemoon February 10, 2016 at 11:11 am

        LOL Yes, that, too. This huffing and crashing thing is expensive!

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