Omaha man who was huffing before crash into Crane Coffee shop gets prison time

An Omaha man who admitted to huffing compressed air before a crash that injured four people has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Jake Yestingsmeier, 34, pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of driving while intoxicated and causing bodily injury in Douglas County District Court. Two counts of assault were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Judge Peter Bataillon sentenced Yestingsmeier to three years in prison, three years of probation and a license revocation of 2½ years. Under state law, Yestingsmeier must serve at least half his sentence before being released.

Yestingsmeier admitted to huffing compressed air just before his Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed through the Crane Coffee building located just east of 132nd Street and West Maple Road on Oct. 31, 2017, according to an affidavit from an Omaha police detective. The crash injured four people inside the small business at the time; two of them suffered critical injuries.

The injured employees of Crane Coffee were Rachel Ayala, Danae Humbert, Chrisanna McClure and Jesse Moore. Yestingsmeier suffered minor injuries from the deployment of the air bag, police said.

Canned air is a gaseous refrigerant-based propellant cleaner used to remove dust and dirt from computers and electronics. The main ingredient in canned air is difluoroethane, which can be toxic.

“Huffing canned air,” according to the American Addiction Center, “can cause an immediate rush of euphoria as well as possible hallucinations and delusions. The effects of huffing may also be paralyzing, interfering with a person’s ability to move normally or even move at all. Dizziness, loss of inhibitions, inability to make sound decisions, and slurred speech are common results of huffing.”

According to the affidavit, investigators received two tips that officers should look at huffing as a cause for the crash. Investigators contacted a former employer of Yestingsmeier and learned that he had been fired for huffing at work.

Officers also learned that Yestingsmeier had stopped at Office Depot and bought three cans of compressed air en route to work that day. He also was found to have stopped alongside West Maple Road and huffed the compressed air just before the crash, according to the affidavit.