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'Huffing' causes Dracut teen to crash into 2 women

October 13, 2011

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LOWELL, Mass.—A Massachusetts teenager was allegedly inhaling fumes from a can of cleaner used on computer keyboards while she was driving, causing her to briefly lose consciousness and strike two pedestrians in Lowell.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Gaudette of Dracut faces numerous charges, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Police alleged Thursday that Gaudette and two of her three teenage passengers were inhaling fumes from a can of compressed air Sunday to obtain a cheap high, or `huffing."

She temporarily lost consciousness and struck 45-year-old Doris Milagro-Ortiz of Lowell, who was crossing Mammoth Road. The vehicle continued for about 50 feet, crossed the marked lane and hit 22-year-old Tina Phoeuth of Lowell who was entering her parked car.

Milagro-Ortiz is in critical condition at a Boston hospital. Phoeuth remains in serious condition in a Lowell hospital.