Accused huffer among 18 indicted in Huron County

Cary Ashby • Jan 15, 2014 at 9:07 PM

A suspected huffer was among 18 suspects who have been indicted by a Huron County grand jury.

Kane M. Ortman, 21, most recently of 15 W. Washington St., is charged with two counts of abuse of harmful intoxicants in connection with incidents on Dec. 5 and 8.

"The allegation is he was huffing duster. ... This is the first time I have heard of duster," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said.

A Norwalk officer testified Friday that duster typically is used to clean computer instruments.

"It's readily available," Woodruff said.

Police said someone saw Ortman, who appeared to be disoriented, intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while walking on West Willard Avenue on Dec. 5.

Capt. Eric Hipp and Sgt. Seth Fry responded to the 9-1-1 call, followed by another in which the caller said Ortman was lying on the ground and unresponsive. By the time officers arrived, they said the suspect was walking down the street carrying an aerosol can. Capt. Mike Conney has said the officers had to wrestle Ortman to the ground when "there was some physical resistance on his part."

North Central EMS and Norwalk firefighters provided basic life support and transported Ortman to Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

About 4:10 p.m. Dec. 8, police received the report of Ortman reportedly abusing a "duster" in the field between Grand and Glover avenues.

A juvenile saw Ortman reportedly breathing in an air duster and then fall. When the juvenile approached the suspect and asked him if he was OK, Ortman fled the scene, Conney said. He was arrested later at a Grand Avenue apartment and transported to the Huron County Jail.

This isn't Ortman's first drug-related run-in with local authorities.

During a July 1, 2012 injury crash, the state Highway Patrol's Norwalk post determined Ortman's blood was positive for marijuana usage. The patrol reported he tested at 10.32 ng/ml. The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is 5 ng/ml.

Ortman was sentenced to a 30-day term in the Huron County Jail for driving under the influence. As part of his two years of probation, he had his driver's license suspended for six months starting July 9, 2012, according to Norwalk Municipal Court records.

He also was charged with failure to control after his vehicle hit a tree and caught fire on Jericho Road. Citizens Ambulance transported Ortman and his passenger, Michael A. Price, who was 17 at the time, to Fisher-Titus Medical Center with minor injuries.

In September 2011, Ortman and Aaron M. Friel, now 20, each received a six-month jail term for animal cruelty convictions for an incident the previous month.

Prosecutors have said the pair were at the Collins residence where Ortman lived at the time when they tied a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever to a nearby fence post and beat him to death with a shovel.

The full list of those indicted was published Tuesday in the Norwalk Reflector.

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