The Star-News


Man who huffs sent to prison

Fri, Jun 25 2010 01:03 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

A Chula Vista man has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of a bizarre drug - computer keyboard cleaner with compressed air in a can. A prosecutor said it was the first DUI case in the county involving the practice of "huffing" to get high.

Romeo Balbin Dumlao, 34, agreed to accept a stipulated 16-year prison term, said Deputy District Attorney Chris Lawson. Sentencing was set for July 12 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide.

Ashley Heffington was killed as a result of a Dec. 31, 2009, collision around 9 a.m. when Dumlao's vehicle struck the car in which the girl was a passenger.

Her mother, Cindy Heffington, was stopped at a light near Sports Arena Boulevard and West Point Loma Boulevard.

Lawson said Dumlao was using an inhalant drug in a practice called "huffing."

He said Dumlao had inhaled electronic keyboard cleaner from a can with compressed air.

"It is a drug," said Lawson, who added the practice appears to be rare.

The girl died about 12 days later and charges were not filed until May because the case involved specialized laboratory tests that took months to complete. Dumlao was arrested May 1 at his Chula Vista home by San Diego police.

Dumlao also admitted in his June 10 guilty plea to having injured the girl's mother and another passenger. He pleaded guilty rather early in his case, as he had been set for a preliminary hearing on June 14, which was canceled.

Dumlao remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $250,000 bail.


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