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Police: Syracuse teen rolls car after inhaling air duster

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 6:16 p.m. MST

SYRACUSE — A Syracuse teen is lucky to be alive after he used a computer cleaning product to get high and passed out while driving Sunday, police said.

Spencer Nicolas, 18, was driving on 700 South near 3300 West with a passenger when he passed out after inhaling an air duster, a canned product used to clean computer keyboards. The practice of inhaling fumes to get high, known as huffing, is a growing problem, police said.

After Nicolas passed out, the passenger grabbed the wheel and tried to control the vehicle, but it rolled over several times, eventually landing back on its wheels.

"The occupants of the crash are fortunate that the injuries aren't more severe," said police Sgt. Heath Rogers.

Nicolas was cited for driving under the influence, abuse of a psychotoxic chemical, failure to use a seat belt and failure to stop at a stop sign. He was transported to McKay Dee Hospital and has since been released.

Syracuse police said this was the second huffing incident so far this year. Two weeks ago, a woman passed out in the parking lot of a Syracuse Walmart after huffing air dust she stole from the store.

"We've been seeing more juveniles (and) adults huffing air dust," Rogers said.

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