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Mother Of Teen Who Died Sues Store That Sold ‘Potpourri’ Drug

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Max Dobner, 19, died in June when the car he was driving flew into a house in Batavia Township. (CBS)

Max Dobner, 19, died in June when the car he was driving flew into a house in Batavia Township. (CBS)

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AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — A west suburban mother is going after the owner of a closed tobacco store, for selling her son a product the woman claims had synthetic marijuana in it.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Karen Dobner’s 19-year-old son, Max, died on June 14, after the car he was driving flew off the road in North Aurora.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports


Dobner tells the Daily Herald that before the accident, Max had smoked a product he bought at the Cigar Box in Aurora. She says even though the product – IAroma Hypnotic – doesn’t say so on the packaging, it contains synthetic marijuana.

She says the drug caused her son to drive recklessly and crash.

Dobner filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Ruby Mohsin of Glen Ellyn, the owner of the Cigar Box, which was located a the Westfield Fox Valley mall in Aurora but has since gone out of business.

The lawsuit says only marshmallow leaf and fruit scent were listed as ingredients on the IAroma Hypnotic package, but the product really contained synthetic marijuana that is vastly more potent than the real thing, the Daily Herald reported.

Dobner has also formed the To The Maximus Foundation with the goals of: Education, Eradication, and Cooperation. She says she wants help other teens who think this drug is safe.

Max Dobner was driving along Mooseheart Road in Aurora when the car he was driving flew off the road at the intersection with Route 31 and went airborne into a one-story house. It was believed he was driving 100 miles per hour at the time. He died of blunt force trauma.

Hours before the crash, he’d told his older brother he and a friend had bought IAroma at a tobacco shop at an Aurora mall.

The product is legally sold as potpourri by the gram in smoke shops at the mall, in gas stations and online.

2 Investigator Dave Savini reported over the summer that several Web sites are selling the product, including a Louisiana company called Domestic Oddities, which markets IAroma along with other brands.

The company is run by Eric Fontenelle, who is only 18. In a YouTube video, he claimed his potpourri is euphoric and cause marijuana-like effects.

Fontenelle is part of a billion-dollar, unregulated industry. He claimed he does not tell people to smoke his product, but in his video he says, “What you do with it is your own business.”

He also said Max Dobner must have smoked a copycat version of his product. Fontenelle says his product was not sold in Illinois and the product he now sells is free of anything harmful. He warns there are hundreds of copycat operations selling these products and have unknown ingredients.

In fact, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said this summer that when law enforcement tests and bans one of these types of products or synthetic form of marijuana, new ones show up on the market overnight.

Karen Dobner is also pushing for legislation to ban the substance.

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