Wells Co. man dies after “huffing” incident

CRAIGVILLE, Ind. (WANE) – A 34-year-old man died in a Wells County hospital after huffing an aerosol can, according to Indiana State Police.

Police and paramedics were called to a home in Craigville, northeast of Bluffton, at 3:52 a.m. Sunday.

Police were told a man named Jason Schmidt was huffing aerosol dusting spray and become incoherent with labored breathing. ISP Spokesman Sgt. Ron Galaviz said Schmidt was uncooperative with paramedics.

Galaviz said Wells County sheriff deputies observed Schmidt huffing from the can and attempted to take it from him. But Schmidt became combative with the officers. Police gave Schmidt several commands that he did not follow, according to Galaviz. After repeated attempts by police to get Schmidt to cooperate one deputy used a taser which was ineffective, according to Galaviz.

A second officer deployed a taser with allowed them to place Schmidt in handcuffs.

“The medics that were there evaluated him and they determined that it would be okay for the deputy to transport him to Bluffton Regional so that he could be medically cleared for incarceration,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz said Schmidt was able to walk from a police car to an emergency room with a deputy. But after treatment at the hospital for around an hour Schmidt was pronounced dead at 6:15 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m., the Wells County Sheriff’s Department requested investigative assistance from Indiana State Police.

“It’s just a level of transparency is what it is,” Galaviz said. “Once we have results of the autopsy hopefully that will point us in a little bit more concrete direction as to why this individual expired when he did.”

A source who was in the home at the time of the incident told NewsChannel 15 they do not believe there was any wrongdoing by police. They also told us Schmidt had a long history of drug abuse.

An autopsy was performed Monday. Results are pending until toxicology reports come back in four to six weeks.