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Teens killed in Greene County crash 'huffing,' state police say

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Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 3:34 p.m.
 

Three teenagers who died when their sport utility vehicle crossed the median along Interstate 79 in Greene County and hit a motorcycle were “huffing” — inhaling chemicals from an aerosol can to get high — according to state police.

The driver of the motorcycle also was killed in the crash on Oct. 3.

The driver of the SUV, Cullin Frazer of Waynesburg, and passengers Benjamin Hardy of Waynesburg and Byron Kerr of Carmichaels — who were all 18 — had the substance difluoroethane in their systems from inhaling the contents of a can of compressed air cleaner they purchased, state police said Monday.

The colorless gas can produce effects similar to alcohol intoxication and when inhaled in higher concentration can be fatal, according to police.

An autopsy determined that the teens died of multiple blunt force trauma, police said.

The driver of the motorcycle, Michael Cohen, 47, of Oshawa, Canada, was killed. His passenger, Sandra Cohen, 48, of Oshawa, suffered moderate injuries.

Three other teens from Waynesburg who were passengers in the SUV were hospitalized. Thomas Miller, 16, had a broken collarbone. Justin Gillogly, 16, and Joseph Lilly, 18, suffered minor injuries.

The crash occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m. near the Ruff Creek exit when the SUV traveled over the hilly median from northbound I-79 to the southbound lane, and glanced off a camper before landing on its roof and striking the motorcycle.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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