Classifieds | Place a class ad | PDF Edition | Home Delivery
By SAM ALLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
A Ketchikan man was charged with two DUIs over the Fourth or July weekend. The alleged intoxicant in both instances: an aerosol can.
Ryan Keith Orr, 33, was arraigned in court Monday on charges of leaving the scene of an accident, two counts of third-degree assault, and two DUI's.
It was revealed in court that Orr was on release from another incident last month that also allegedly involved "dusting" and driving. That incident resulted in charges of third-degree assault for the hospitalization of another motorist, and leaving the scene of an accident, according to police documents. Dusting is when people inhale compressed air cleaners such as Dust-Off to get high.
All three incidents allegedly involve Orr driving his mom's car and dusting, according to Ketchikan District Attorney Tim McGillicuddy.
In Ketchikan District Court on Monday, McGillicudy pushed for a high bail in both instances.
"There's really not any activities that are more dangerous than driving a car while huffing," said McGillicuddy. "Luckily nobody was killed in these incidents."
According to the probable cause statement, at about 12:50 p.m. on Saturday, Ketchikan Police Department Officer Justin Oster responded to the intersection of Fairy Chasm and Black Bear roads and found a Subaru in the middle of the road.
The vehicle was in reverse with the engine running and a key in the ignition, according to police documents. Orr sat unresponsive in the driver's seat with a can of air duster in his hand.
Oster woke up Orr and observed him to have red watery eyes and pupils the size of a pin point. A witness said she saw Orr inhale from the duster while he was in the driver's seat.
KPD arrested Orr, who was later released on bail.
The next day around 2:30 p.m., the same vehicle was reported to be traveling on the Third Avenue bypass and drifting into oncoming traffic. The oncoming vehicle swerved into the other lane to avoid hitting the Subaru. The Subaru struck a guard rail, according to the probable cause statement.
The people in the other vehicle came over to make sure Orr was OK, and removed the key from the ignition of the Subaru to prevent Orr from driving.
When Officer Oster arrived, he found Orr in the driver's seat with a can of duster next to him. Orr was semi-responsive and showed the same signs of lethargy and being under the influence as the day before, according to the probable cause statement.
"After being arrested," McGillicuddy said of Sunday's incident, "he was reaching to huff more Dust Off in the presence of the officer. He wanted to get one more huff in before they pulled him away in cuffs."
The first incident occurred around 12 p.m. on June 12. Orr allegedly was driving the Subaru near the 1200 block of Tongass Avenue and drifted into the other lane, striking the driver's side of an oncoming vehicle, according to the probable cause statement.
The driver of the other vehicle sustained injuries, and was removed from the vehicle and transported to the emergency room via ambulance.
Orr allegedly kept driving, despite the Subaru losing a quarter panel and damaging its headlight. A police vehicle got behind the Subaru near Jefferson Street and Third Avenue, and flipped on its lights and sirens, but the Subaru kept going — at four miles per hour.
KPD Officer Derek McGarrigan got out of his vehicle and talked to Orr through the open driver-side window as the vehicle was still slowly moving.
"He told the defendant to stop; further the defendant was surprised he was being stopped and he eventually put the vehicle in park and exited the vehicle," the probable cause statement read.
Orr spoke slowly and seemed disoriented and confused, failing field sobriety tests, according to a probable cause statement written by McGarrigan. A can of air duster was found near the vehicle's center console.
District Court Judge Kevin Miller said Monday that "given these two offense as related to the first offense, he poses a profound risk. I don't think there's anything I can do to keep him out of the car and keeping him from huffing. The only alternative left is high cash bail."
Orr's bail was set at $5,000 for the first incident and $10,000 for the next. His next court appearance is July 18.
In an interview Tuesday, KPD Lt. Andy Berntson said that "inhalants are very dangerous, very unpredictable — they attack the brain."
Berntson said the department has observed some bad DUIs and overdose scenarios involving inhalants.
"It's hard to say how prevalent it is in the community," said Berntson. "We just know that it is and it's not decreasing."
Berntson did say traditionally inhalant use is common in more rural areas where other drugs are more difficult to get a hold of. Air duster use doesn't show up in a typical drug test, but bloodwork can show evidence of use, according to Berntson.