A county coroner has concluded that a South Carolina High School student who collapsed in class and subsequently passed away last month died as a result of drinking too much caffeine. That news is a scary enough finding, but what is even more worrisome is that the list of beverages 16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe consumed in the hours prior to his death isn’t all that out of the ordinary.
According to the coroner’s report, the official cause of death was determined to be a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia,” stemming from Cripe’s consumption of three caffeine drinks in a two-hour span. The beverages Cripe reportedly drank in the time frame leading up to his death are familiar — a large Diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald’s, and an unnamed energy drink. On April 26th, the day of his death, Cripe purchased his first drink, the McDonald’s cafe latte at 12:30 pm, collapsed by 2:28 pm, and by 3:40 pm, he was dead.
Cripe’s family had said in the days following the tragedy that their teen was healthy with no history of heart problems or anything that would have been considered a warning sign leading up to his death. Sean Cripe, the father of the teen, spoke about how his family is understandably bewildered and devasted by their son’s sudden death and asked that other parents use their son’s tragedy as a learning experience, via USA Today:
“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink. Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks. And teenagers and students: please stop buying them.”
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts came to the shocking conclusion that caffeine was the root-cause of death. He added that Davis’ death should be a wake-up call for teenagers who think that energy drinks are completely harmless, USA Today reports:
“This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance,” Watts said. “Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis.”
While it’s well known that energy drinks can raise the blood pressure of those who consume them, it’s also a fact that the sugary caffeine boosts can effect everyone differently. Watts added that what Davis drank on the day of his death may have had little effect on someone else:
“You can have five people line up right here and all of them do the exact same thing that happened with him that day — drink more — and it may not have any kind of effect on them at all,” Watts said.
(Via USA Today)