Driver in deadly crash accused of huffing behind the wheel - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Driver in deadly crash accused of huffing behind the wheel

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BARRE, Vt. -

A driver is accused of huffing behind the wheel and causing a deadly crash. Police say he jumped the sidewalk and hit the victim before slamming into a parked car and injuring others.

Huffing is often done to get a quick high. It's when a person inhales chemicals found in common household products, such as aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids or, in this case, compressed air. Cutting off oxygen to the body, it can be dangerous and even lead to the death of the user or others.

Police say Jonathan Stone, 28, was huffing to get high just moments before causing a deadly collision last Friday. A week later, he appeared in court with a Bible in his hand, charged with gross negligent operation.

"It's a very serious offense. Somebody lost their life as the result of this incident," Barre Police Chief Tim Bombardier said.

Police say Stone was huffing on a compressed air can while behind the wheel. They say he then allegedly jumped the curb, killing a man who was walking, and then ended up hitting a parked car in a gas station parking lot.

Cellphone video obtained by WCAX News appears to show the moments after the crash. While the camera is aimed toward the grounds, what appears to be the voice of the driver involved talks about what happened.

"The floor mat got stuck underneath the gas pedal, and I went down to grab it and I lost it," the man is heard saying.

That's the same story Stone told police on scene. But they didn't buy it after finding a partially used compressed air can in his Jeep. They found he bought it at a nearby store just minutes before the crash and arrested him six days later.

"Part of this is doing a thorough investigation," Bombardier said.

Police also found what appeared to be marijuana in a trash can that Stone had walked by several times after the crash. Witnesses at the scene said he "wasn't responding" and "did not seem in his head" moments after it happened. He told police he hit his head and blacked out.

Stone left court Friday covering his face and walking in silence after entering a plea of not guilty to gross negligent operation.

Police say part of the reason for the delay in Stone's arrest is proving he used the compressed air can to get high before the crash. They tell us drug recognition experts or blood tests may be able to reveal if he was huffing. Court documents reveal Stone agreed to a blood test, but so far, he has maintained his story about the stuck floor mat.

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