SALEM, N.H. — A Hampstead, N.H., woman arrested in Methuen this week on charges of inhaling compressed air fumes while at a red light has a long history of similar offenses, some of which could land her in the county jail.
Janna Brown's latest arrest came on Monday after a Methuen police lieutenant spotted her inhaling fumes from a can of compressed air while behind the wheel waiting at a red light.
It marked her third arrest on such charges in recent weeks. Those charges include four on felony drug possession and a violation-level offense of inhaling toxic vapors for effect.
Had Brown stayed out of trouble for another two and a half weeks, she might have dodged the yearlong jail sentence that could now come back to haunt her, according to court documents.
Yesterday, prosecutors started gathering facts about Brown's latest arrests to see if she may have violated the conditions of her probation, Plaistow police Deputy Chief Kathleen Jones said.
"We will be checking into her pending arrests in other jurisdictions to check if she violated the conditions of her probation," Jones said.
Plaistow police arrested Brown in December 2007 on charges of inhaling fumes while parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot with her 2-year-old child in the back seat. She received a suspended 12-month jail sentence for endangering the welfare of her child, which prosecutors can now ask a judge to impose.
Brown also was placed on probation for another December 2007 case in Salem, in which police found she crashed her car into a steel gate at a local business on Route 28, then fled to the parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart. Inside her car, police Officer Thomas Kench found two used cans of dust spray, which Brown admitted to inhaling, according to a police affidavit.
In that case, she paid a fine and agreed to be on good behavior for two years.
Her lawyer in the case, Marsha Kazarosian, could not be reached yesterday.
Court documents say Brown was in compliance with a court order to seek counseling or rehabilitation as of Oct. 10. But on Feb. 21, Salem police said they found her again with inhalants and prescription drugs while driving her BMW 3 Series on Route 28.
"She had three different types of pills, none of which belonged to the bottle she had," Salem police Capt. Shawn Patten said. "She also had a two-pack of Dust-Off in the car. She said she liked to keep a clean car, but the dashboard was still very dusty."
Police found her with three kinds of prescription drugs — Zanaflex, Lorazepam and Lamotrigine. The drug possession charges are felonies, punishable by three and a half to seven years in state prison.
Yesterday, the status of Brown's driver's license remained unclear. No court paperwork indicated it had been suspended and the offense of inhaling toxic fumes in New Hampshire is only a violation, which is equivalent to a speeding ticket.
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