Motorist uses laughing gas while chased by police

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, canisters on the street
Canisters of nitrous oxide litter the street in Utrecht. Aug. 13, 2017Sebastiaan ter BurgWikimedia CommonsCC-BY

A 23-year-old man was arrested in Ede on Thursday evening for causing dangerous traffic situations by using laughing gas while driving. The man was using laughing gas while being chased by the police, and even filmed the police chase - all while driving a car, the police said.

At around 9:20 p.m. the police received a report of a man using laughing gas behind the wheel and causing dangerous traffic situations - he almost caused a collision, according to the report. Responding officers spotted then driving on Oude-Bennekomseweg and signaled him to stop. But he ignored this and sped away.

From Oude-Bennekomseweg, the man drove onto Zuidplein, crossing the sidewalk, and through bicycle parking to Doctor Hatogsweg - holding his phone to film the police chasing him, the police said. On Doctor Hartogsweg, he stopped. "Apparently he needed another shot of laughing gas. Because while police officers were parked next to his car in the police car, he inhaled two new balloons, and sped off again", the police said. 

A short way up the road, police officers created a road block by parking their cars across the street. This did not stop the man either. He steered his car around the police car and escaped by driving over the sidewalk, various cycling paths, with his headlights turned off, the police said. 

Around 10 minutes after the first report, the man came to a stop on Kanonnenpad. Police officers ordered him to open the car doors, but he ignored them, instead inhaling another balloon of laughing gas, the police said. Because he did not respond to the officers' orders, one police officer broke the car window to open the door.

The man was arrested for his dangerous driving behavior and the dangerous situations he caused, the police said.

"This case is a typical example of the dangers that laughing gas can cause in traffic. Although not a drug, and not prohibited by law, laughing gas can have the same effect as drunkenness," the police said. "The police therefor always advises not to participate in traffic if you have used laughing gas."