Clearwater mom charged with 'huffing' chemicals while driving 1-year-old

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 22:30:26-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrested a Clearwater mother for huffing chemicals while driving with a 1-year-old in the backseat. 

Troopers have charged Brittany Tipitino, 29, with inhalation of chemicals and child abuse. 

According to FHP, Tipitino was only a few blocks away from her home when she drove through two mailboxes on 69th Street North, ran a stop sign, and ultimately crashed into a family's palm tree. 

"The horn was going off so it was causing more chaos," said Richard Lesko. 

Lesko heard the commotion Monday night and rushed outside to help. 

He found Tipitino passed out, slumped over an airbag. 

According to a Pinellas County arrest report, troopers found an air duster can on the driver's side floorboard, reportedly cool to the touch and almost empty. 

"I just immediately went really angry and was overcome, I'm a new parent with my first kid, overcome with emotion about what could have been," said Lesko. 

Tipitino stated that she had huffed it around 2:30 p.m., five hours before the crash. 

The responding trooper said, "based off my training and experience, the can would not still be cold five hours later, indicating that the defendant had been huffing the can inside the vehicle driving with her child in the backseat."

"If that's what she was doing, I think it's really sad and I hope she gets the help that she needs and that the baby gets taken care of," said neighbor Barbara Duva. 

ABC Action News stopped by Tipitino's house for comment, but no one answered the door. 

Troopers say the child was not injured.