Brain-Damaged Girl Sues Alleged Nitrous Seller
Sheriff: Investigations Have Not Linked Crash To Nitrous Use
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The parents of a South Florida teenager who got into a serious car crash after she and friend inhaled nitrous oxide are suing the video store that allegedly sold the cartridges.
The suit says Jamie Cook and friend Priya Bhaskar bought the cartridges known as "whippets" and paraphernalia to inhale the gas from Gold Coast Video for $40 just before the crash.
"I seriously doubt that anyone in this room who is going to make whipped cream, would go to Gold Coast Video to get these cartridges," said Cook's father, Michael Cook.
Cook was in a coma for four weeks after the crash and suffers from permanent brain damage.
Palm Beach County Sheriff's investigations have not linked the crash to nitrous use. Bhaskar, who was driving the car when it crashed six months ago, was not been charged and is not involved in the suit.
Florida law forbids the sale of nitrous oxide, which is also known as "laughing gas," for the purpose of intoxication. But investigators said proving that anyone at the video store knew that Cook and Bhaskar were going to use the gas to get high would be difficult.
A manager at Gold Coast Video, who would only identify himself as Don, calls the lawsuit "frivolous." He said the nitrous oxide was sold in an adult room so customers could make their own flavors of whipped cream.
Don said the store did not sell the two items as a package.
"If someone buys this, this and this and builds an atomic bomb, how can we be held responsible for it?" he said.
Gold Coast Video no longer sells the canisters and balloons (pictured, right). Don said they pulled them to avoid more trouble with the lawsuit.
April 14, 2007
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