A 19-year-old Belmont man was high on “whippits” when he crashed two cars borrowed from friends on consecutive days last month, according to prosecutors, and the second accident caused a major pileup in San Mateo that injured several people.
Daniel Evenbach remains in custody on felony hit-and-run and DUI charges in connection with the two incidents Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 that apparently involved nitrous oxide canisters, which are commonly known as whippits.
Nitrous oxide is legal and can be found in whipped cream canisters and dentist’s offices, but when inhaled the gas can produce a brief and intense high.
In the first incident Oct. 29, prosecutors said, Evenbach crashed into a fence with a vehicle he had borrowed from a friend and then fled the scene on foot. Responding police reportedly found 22 nitrous oxide canisters inside the abandoned vehicle, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
The very next day, Wagstaffe said, Evenbach asked another friend to borrow his car — and also went out and bought more whippits. About 4:20 p.m., Evenbach ran a red light at El Camino Real and 20th Avenue in San Mateo and broadsided a car driven by a 69-year-old man, San Mateo Police Department Sgt. Dave Norris said.
The victim reportedly suffered a broken clavicle, among other injuries. Several others were wounded after Evenbach’s vehicle flipped onto its side in front of oncoming traffic and caused four other vehicles to crash, Wagstaffe said.
Witnesses watched Evenbach and a second man flee the scene, Norris said, but both were quickly apprehended following a search of the area.
More nitrous canisters were found in the vehicle Evenbach had been driving, Wagstaffe said.
A video posted on YouTube (see video below) shows the destruction left in the accident’s wake and shaken victims. In the video, the filmmaker says the 69-year-old man’s vehicle was apparently propelled across three lanes and ended up in a parking lot.
The filmmaker can be heard saying, “He looked really shook up. Appreciate every day you have aboveground, drive safe, you never know what could happen.”
Evenbach, who’s being held on $100,000 bail, was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday, prosecutor said, but the case was continued until Dec. 6 to allow his attorney more time to review the case.