A driver traveling the wrong way on Howard Street after leaving a Phish concert earlier this month was allegedly hauling a 20-gallon tank of nitrous oxide, 100 miniature canisters of the gas and $8,000 in cash, police said Tuesday. Nitrous oxide, commonly known as Whip-its, produces a brief euphoric feeling when inhaled.
The 31-year-old man from Grass Valley, whose identity was not immediately available, was reportedly driving a 2003 Jeep when he was pulled over near Sixth Street about 1 a.m. on Aug. 4. The driver said he went the wrong way down the one-way Howard Street because he is not familiar with the roads and was trying to find his hotel, police said.
He also explained that he had consumed alcohol earlier that night and had just left a concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The popular jam band Phish played three nights at the venue from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4.
The results of field sobriety tests "indicated the driver was more than likely under the influence of drugs rather than alcohol," police said.
A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the seizure of the nitrous oxide, canisters and cash.
"Not only was the driving under the influence of this substance, the recovered evidence indicate he was more than likely selling his product as well," Southern Station police said.
He was reportedly booked on numerous narcotics charges and DUI.