Video (after the jump) shows the man sitting in a Honda Accord and continuing to hit his balloon as cops order him to surrender.
The LAPD tells LA Weekly it started ...
... about 11 a.m. when police got a call of a driver "possibly under the influence of narcotics" in the 8400 of Cantaloupe Avenue in Panorama City, Officer Christopher No told us.
"They observed the individual in the vehicle inhaling a balloon, possibly an unknown gas," he said.
Cops gave chase and the suspect led officers on slow, "small" pursuit that lasted 10 to 15 minutes, No said. The driver rarely went faster than 35 miles per hour, he added.
After a spike strip disabled the Honda by flattening at least one front tire, the Honda came to a stop at Cantaloupe and Ashworth Street where more huffing appeared to take place in full view of news helicopters.
Officers had to smash out the car's window and use less-than-lethal force to get the suspect to surrender, No said: He had yet to be booked this afternoon.
NBC Los Angeles says the suspect's father identified him as 24-year-old Jorge Leonardo Sanchez who, the station discovered, was convicted of possession nitrous oxide in 2009.
Video, the station says, showed the man refilling his balloon from a tank in the car.
The dad said his son indeed had a problem with nitrous oxide, a.k.a. noz, a drug popular in the rave scene.