Caffeine Overdose Killed South Carolina Teen: Coroner

Javier Howell
May 16, 2017

Davis Cripe died when his heart fell out of rhythm at Spring Hill High School in Chapin, South Carolina, on April 26.

While the cause of death was originally unknown, coroner Gary Watts has officially ruled the teen died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event.

The coroner reports the teen drank a large caffeinated soda, a latte, and an energy drink in the two hours before his death.

Too much caffeine caused the death of a 16-year-old high school student from SC who collapsed during class last month, according to the county coroner.

Last month, 16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe consumed a large Diet Mountain Dew, a McDonald's cafe latte and an energy drink within the span of two hours. "Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks".

"Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today, was doing something (he) thought was totally harmless, and that was ingesting lots of caffeine", Watts said. Rather, the coroner says the teens death was entirely attributed to the excessive consumption of caffeine which lead to heart arrhythmia and ultimately death. "And that's what happened in this case", Watts said in a news conference.

"You know, a cup of coffee, a can of soda, isn't going to cause this sort of thing", said Amy Durso, MD, deputy chief pathologist for Richland County.

The autopsy showed "no unfounded" or "undiagnosed heart condition", Watts said. Based on Cripe's weight, Watts says the amount of caffeine consumed was above what is considered a "safe limit".

He echoed Watts' call for people to avoid highly caffeinated drinks. "You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all".

"It wasn't a vehicle crash that took his life", he said of his son.

The FDA has reported in the past that teenagers have died of heart arrhythmias after consuming large amounts of Monster Energy drinks.

Watts did not specify which energy drinks were consumed, but in general, a 24-ounce energy drink can contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine.

Other reports by Insurance News

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