NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodFond du Lac


Man accused of huffing duster spray before driving into Fond du Lac Verizon store pleads not guilty

Verizon Crash
Posted at 8:49 PM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-13 21:10:47-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — The man accused of crashing his car into a Verizon store in Fond du Lac County while under the influence of drugs has pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges against him.

Benjamin Ayer was allegedly huffing duster spray before he got behind the wheel and drove into the building on April 27th, injuring several people.

Andrew Roberts, who was inside the store with his wife and three children, described the chaos that ensued after the crash.

“That kind of stuff doesn't happen. You look up and see someone flying through the air, that just got hit by a car, coming through a wall,” said Roberts. “There was chaos everywhere… The kids were screaming.”

He said it was a miracle that his family wasn't hurt, but the same could not be said for others.

“Something happened where not a single scratch on myself, my wife, our three kids.”

Jill Norton, who was pinned under the car, is still struggling to recover from her injuries.

“Trying to stay positive, it's just hard to move forward or think of what you know life is going to be,” said Norton. “I’m alive, I'm breathing but I'm like in pain a lot and it's hard to breathe and figure out how to move around.”

In court today, a Fond du Lac police officer testified that Ayer admitted to huffing duster spray before the crash. The officer also noticed that Ayer had “pinpoint pupils and slow speech”, which led him to believe that he was under the influence.

“Based on my training and experience he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said Officer Da Neng Vang, Fond du lac police.

Ayer’s attorney argued that the crash could have been caused by a medical emergency.

Andrew Roberts didn't buy that.

“No way. Not a chance. There's no way that there was a medical emergency. He admitted that he was huffing,” said Roberts.

The judge said that the incident showed "utter disregard for human life" and "recklessly endangered the safety of everyone in that building."

“So based on the testimony before the court here today I am going to find that there is probable cause to believe that a felony has been committed,” said Judge Laura J. Lavey, Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.

Ayer entered not-guilty pleas on all 12 counts and is set to appear back in court on June 1st.