Davis Cripe left home April 26 an active and healthy teenage boy, but in art class that afternoon he fell to his knees and told worried classmates that he felt lightheaded.
He passed out on the floor and was rushed to a nearby hospital. By 3:30 p.m., around the time the final bell rang at school, he was dead.
His sudden death may have remained a medical mystery, the coroner who conducted his autopsy said, if friends hadn’t described what Davis ingested during lunch: Enough caffeine to disrupt and ultimately stop his heart.
On Monday, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts told reporters about the troubling — and what he is sure will be controversial — contributing factors in the South Carolina teenager’s death, while standing beside Davis’s parents.
“He was a great kid,” said Davis’s father, Sean Cripe. “He didn’t get mixed up in the wrong things. You worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn’t a crash that took his life. Instead it was an energy drink.”
In the span of two hours, Davis drank a cafe latte from McDonald’s and a large Mountain Dew, then “chugged” a 16-ounce energy drink when he got back to art class, Watts told The Washington Post.
The official cause of death was “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia,” Watts said.
Another young life lost in South Carolina…
16 year-old Davis Allen Cripe collapsed in the classroom. https://t.co/8lzA83NpkI
— Parent Heart Watch (@PHWorg) April 27, 2017
Holding a news conference was difficult for Davis’s family, Watts said, but the story of a teen who died after legally purchasing drinks containing a drug many believe is safe is “a conversation worth having.”
SOURCE: Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
The Washington Post