Woman was inhaling whippets during crash that killed teen who was a ‘teddy bear’: Police


Background: Maddix Bias, 18, was killed in a crash this February./Inset: Sutton Petz Collin County Detention Center booking photo.

Background: Maddix Bias, 18, was killed in a crash this February (GoFundMe) / Inset: Sutton Petz booking photo (Collin County Detention Center).

Police and prosecutors in Oklahoma say Sutton Petz was unconscious behind the wheel, allegedly knocked out from inhaling nitrous oxide whippets, when her car crashed and ultimately killed 18-year-old passenger Maddix Bias.

The crash in Norman happened this February but Petz was only arrested on April 9 in Texas after a warrant was issued roughly a week earlier, according to a statement from the District Attorney’s Office in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Petz, 28, was briefly detained in jail before she bonded out on $250,000, online court records show. She will be arraigned on May 8.

She is charged with first-degree manslaughter and driving under the influence causing great bodily injury. She has not yet entered a plea.

Bias, a resident of Tecumseh, Oklahoma, was riding as Petz’s passenger in her 2016 Jeep Wrangler while she was inhaling nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, and then abruptly lost consciousness and lost control of the car, according to prosecutors. The vehicle ran off the road, traveled through a grass ditch and went airborne before it hit several trees and proceeded to “roll onto the driver’s side,” the reporting officer wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

“One passenger inside the vehicle was killed due to injuries sustained in the collision. A second passenger suffered multiple injuries: dislocated left collarbone, fractured sternum and a dislocated left shoulder as a result of the collision,” police said.

An obituary for Bias noted that the teen is survived by his parents and a large extended family. Bias graduated from Tecumseh High School last year. He was attending the Gordon Cooper Technology Center for Carpentry and Masonry when he was killed.

His mother, Candi Morris, told local ABC outlet KOCO that her son was “a big kid, but he was a teddy bear, and he was just lovable.”

“And his favorite thing to do was to make people laugh. He got no greater joy than to make people laugh,” Morris said.

Nitrous oxide can be inhaled by cracking open commonly available whipped cream canisters and letting the escaping gas pour right into the mouth or into another object like a balloon, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation notes. It creates a fleeting high, leaving users euphoric. But it can also have an immediate, dangerous effect on the brain including loss of consciousness. The gas can be found in dentists’ offices and in auto shops, too.

Bias’ mother said in February that the gas is too readily available for teens to abuse and called her son’s death totally “senseless” and “preventable.”

“I’ve been in dentistry for 23 years, and I have to have a license to be able to administer it in my office under my dentist, and he even has to have a license,” the teen’s mother told KOCO.

Prosecutors did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.

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