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Man ‘huffing air’ while driving hits teen in Idaho Falls, say police

Reuben Michael James Holden | Bonneville County Jail
IDAHO FALLS — Police say an Idaho Falls man allegedly huffing air canisters ran over a teenager, sending him to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Reuben Michael James Holden, 21, is charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a crash resulting in injury and misdemeanor driving without a license.
The incident began just after 5 p.m. when the Idaho Falls Police Department was called to the intersection of North Boulevard and Elva Street for a vehicle versus pedestrian crash. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, as police were on the way, they learned a fight broke out and the driver, later identified as Holden, drove away.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department arrived at the scene and found a 17-year-old boy injured after the crash. He was rushed to Eastern Idaho Medical Center in stable condition, according to fire department spokeswoman Kerry Hammon. It is not clear if the teen is still at the hospital.
A witness told investigating officers they had just seen Holden drive off the side of Boulevard and onto the sidewalk. He kept going until he ended up in the front yard of a home on the corner of Elva, where he hit the teen, who was doing construction work. The witness said the impact threw the teen into the air, and Holden kept driving across the street.
A man working with the teen said he went over to the car and opened the door as Holden tried to drive away. As the man stood in the open door, Holden allegedly put the car into reverse, nearly running the man over. The man stayed with the vehicle, kicked Holden in the ribs and pulled him out of the car. A short scuffle ensued, then Holden got back into his car and drove away, according to court documents.
At some point during the incident, Holden also allegedly hit a Jeep Wrangler parked at a house on Elva. The owner of the Jeep took a picture of the crash, which showed Holden inside his car.
As police spoke with witnesses, another officer found Holden and the car at Canal Avenue and J Street.
While being interviewed by police, Holden “stated he was texting his girlfriend and was looking at his phone and not the road,” according to the probable cause. “(He) felt a bump and realized he hit someone.”
Holden then changed the story from texting to talking on the phone. He handed the device over to police, which showed multiple calls to someone named “baby.” He told police he fled the scene because the construction worker had pulled him out of his car and was beating him up, according to court documents.
Police found empty cans of compressed air inside the car. Holden denied huffing the air cans and said he only used them to clean his PlayStation. He then started to say it was for his Nintendo Switch and not the PlayStation. Police still thought Holden was lying and asked him to tell the truth.
“He stated he was huffing air,” an officer wrote in a report. “I asked if he passed out after. He stated he did and woke up to a male beating him up. He stated he was scared and didn’t want to get beat, so he fled the scene and drove a few blocks and waited for police to come.”
Huffing air is when someone inhales the contents of an aerosol can like an air duster. The chemicals in the can lead to euphoria and even passing out.
Because the effects of huffed air pass so quickly, officers write they saw no signs of impairment while they spoke with him. Based on the empty cans and Holden’s statements, they believed he was driving under the influence, according to the probable cause.
Holden was booked into the Bonneville County Jail. A judge set his bail at $15,000.
A preliminary hearing for Holden is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Although Holden is charged with crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The post Man ‘huffing air’ while driving hits teen in Idaho Falls, say police appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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