Vermillion man pleads guilty following huffing incident By Randy Dockendorf
and David Lias
Yankton Media, Inc. A�? Vermillion man pleaded guilty in Clay County Court to four charges related to a huffing incident last summer that hospitalized a Vermillion teenager. David Hesse, 22, who was indicted last July on two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor under the age of 18, plead guilty to those charges Tuesday before Judge Tami Bern.�? The alleged huffing incident involved two 13-year-old Vermillion girls, according to Clay County authorities. Huffing refers to the inhalation of chemical vapors, often common household products, to get a â�?�?highâ�? or feeling of intoxication. Each count is a Class I misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail and a $2,000 fine, according to the Clay County clerk of courts office. According to news reports last summer, Vermillion Police Chief Art Mabry said the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. June 19. â�?�?They were ingesting air from a can, like the kind you use when you are dusting off keyboards,â�? he said in a press release. Because the two girls are minors, their names are not being released, said Clay County Stateâ�?�?s Attorney Teddi Gertsma. She declined to release further details on the alleged incident. â�?�?There isnâ�?�?t a lot I can say about the case because the girls are juveniles,â�? Gertsma said shortly after Hesse was indicted by a grand jury last summer. â�?�?One girl was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital, and she was still hospitalized as of early this week.â�? According to the indictment, the incident occurred at or near Hesseâ�?�?s residence of 817 Tom Street in Vermillion. The girlsâ�?�? ages affects the charges, Gertsma said. â�?�?We are talking two charges with two different people,â�? the stateâ�?�?s attorney said. â�?�?The two counts of delinquency of a child are Class I, while the two counts of furnishing to a minor can be Class I or II, depending on the age of the minor. Because they are under 18, itâ�?�?s Class I.â�? At the arraignment, Hesse can plead guilty, not guilty or ask for a continuance,�? Gertsma said. The Vermillion incident is not unusual, as huffing is widespread across the United States. For the person inhaling the product, the vapors go directly to the lungs. The abusers risk brain damage, damage to organs and even death. The abusers are often adolescents or young adults, although young children are known to try huffing. The inhalants are popular because they are often ready accessible, inexpensive and legal. In the Vermillion case, one girl was hospitalized while the other girl did not require medical treatment, Mabry said. He declined to disclose other details surrounding the case. The huffing incident is nothing new in Vermillion, the police chief said last summer. â�?�?We have seen it for a couple of years, but itâ�?�?s a little worse now,â�? he said. Bern ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Hesse Tuesday. He remains free on bond.