A 21-year-old man suspected of being high on aerosol fumes crashed a car into an East County apartment building Friday, injuring a woman inside the structure, authorities reported.
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Charles Scott of Imperial was northbound on La Brea Street in Ramona when the 2005 Ford Focus he was driving veered off the western edge of the roadway shortly before 11:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
A witness said the car was swerving wildly as it approached the two-story apartment building.
"You know, pretty much turning and trying to get control of the vehicle, but he never pressed on the breaks or anything," said Jesus Montano, a landscaper who was four feet away from being hit by the car. "He did not have control of that car since he came out of that curve."
The Focus hit a road sign near Day Street, then careened into a parking lot, sideswiped another car and smashed into an apartment building, CHP public affairs Officer Brian Pennings said.
"When I walked to the car, the airbag was deployed and [the driver] had this look in his face where he was, 'What's going on?'" said Montano.
The CHP said the collision knocked down a woman standing in the kitchen on the other side of the wall where the car crashed. She was airlifted to the hospital with moderate injuries.
Scott, who was not wearing a seat belt, was taken to a hospital for evaluation of apparently minor head trauma, including a bruised forehead.
He was arrested on suspicion of felony driving while intoxicated due to alleged evidence, including a witness statement, indicating that he was under the influence of some type of "inhalant" chemical at the time of the accident, according to Pennings.
Pennings said Scott was probably inhaling some just seconds before the accident because the effects do not last more than 30 seconds.
The collision also damaged several support beams in the wall. The families living in the two attached apartments were forced to move to other apartments in the building. Firefighters deemed it too unsafe to live in until they are fixed.
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