Police chief faces charges for huffing compressed air on duty

By Ben Hooper
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DANVILLE, Pa., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania police chief is facing charges in connection with his alleged "huffing" cans of compressed air to get high while on duty.

Mahoning Township Police Chief Chad Thomas, 41, of Bloomsburg, appeared in a Danville courtroom Wednesday morning to face charges of the sale or illegal use of certain solvents and noxious substances.


The criminal complaint alleges several officers were present May 27 when Thomas was inhaling from a can of compressed air -- a practice known as "huffing" -- while on duty. The officers told investigators Thomas' eyes fluttered and he was temporarily unresponsive, leading some to fear he was suffering a seizure.

Court papers indicate Thomas admitted to the incident, saying he took up huffing as a temporary release from the stress he was under personally and professionally.

Thomas, an 18-year law enforcement veteran who joined the Mahoning Township Police Department five years ago, was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the case. Sgt. Chris Prescott is currently serving as acting police chief of Mahoning Township.

Thomas was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Dec. 16.


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