Man charged in crash hours after reckless charges

SALEM – A man already charged for driving reckless in a parking lot and huffing compressed air Tuesday afternoon ended up cited again three hours later for an accident on East State Street.

Robert Rice, 19, of West Perry Street, was charged with failure to assure clear distance at 5:54 p.m. when his westbound Buick struck the rear of a westbound vehicle in the left turn lane at North Madison Avenue and Southeast Boulevard, along with a westbound vehicle in the thru lane.

According to the report, he said he wasn’t able to see well due to the sun being in his eyes and couldn’t stop in time, hitting both vehicles by trying to drive between them. The other motorists included William Taylor, 53, of Canfield and Norma Byers, 82, of North Ellsworth Avenue. No injuries were reported.

Rice’s passenger was Christopher Flatt, 18, of Alliance, the same passenger who was with him when a police officer caught him doing donuts in an American Standard gravel parking lot off of Newgarden Avenue at 2:24 p.m. in the blue Buick.

The officer initiated a traffic stop and noted in the report that the driver appeared to be under some type of influence of some substance and was asked to exit the vehicle. The passenger also appeared to be on something, with watery, glassy eyes and slurred speech.

A can of industrial strength compressed air was found in the back seat, still cold from recent use. It was found they had been huffing from the can.

Both Rice and Flatt were charged with abusing intoxicating inhalants, with Rice also charged for reckless operation of a vehicle on private property.