Was the fall caused by inhalant abuse, which is commonly known as "huffing"? We don't have a definitive answer to that question, but experts say falls, car crashes, and other types of accidents can be signs of a huffing problem. And a source has told Legal Schnauzer that investigators found evidence at the scene that led them to think huffing contributed to Swatek's death.
What are the dangers of huffing? A government report spells it out:
Death from inhalant abuse can occur after a single use or after prolonged use. Sudden sniffing death (SSD) may result within minutes of inhalant abuse from irregular heart rhythm leading to heart failure. Other causes of death include asphyxiation, aspiration, or suffocation. A user who is suffering from impaired judgment may also experience fatal injuries from motor vehicle accidents or sudden falls.
Chace Swatek hurt himself badly enough in summer 2011 that he needed back surgery, according to a statement from the Pelham Police Department. Posts on his Facebook page from that time frame show that Swatek was injured in a fall:
Kim Dearman Davidson
Hope your recovery is going well. We missed you at State Bar. July 24, 2011 at 5:31pm
Dax and Rachel told me about your accident. I hope you are recovering well buddy. Hope to see you soon. July 24, 2011 at 7:08pm via mobile
Laura Cooper Simmons
Chace, Are you ok? Heard you had an accident. Wanted to see if there is anything I can do? Bring a meal??? July 27, 2011 at 7:26pm via mobile
Rhonda Norman Taylor
Praying for a speedy, whole recovery. Love your guts! August 18, 2011 at 11:43am via mobile
Laura Cooper Simmons
Are you recovering from your fall? Please update me. November 11, 2011 at 1:46pm
It appears that Chace Swatek's friends and family members either missed, or ignored, signs that he had a serious problem with substance abuse. His fall probably was the most alarming sign of all.
Here is a video based on an interview where Pelham Police Cpt. Larry Palmer discusses Chace Swatek's injury and back surgery: