Excessive Caffeine Led to Death of Midlands Teen, Coroner Says

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Richland County Coroner Gary Watts say an excessive amount of caffeine ultimately led to the death of a Midlands high school student.

Watts updated the public Monday afternoon on the death of Davis Allen Cripe, 16. Cripe collapsed at Spring Hill High School back on April 26, and later died at the hospital.

Watts said the teen had consumed multiple caffeinated drinks that day, including a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte, and also some kind of energy drink.

All that caffeine led to a cardiac event that killed Cripe. "We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said. 

Watts says the boy was a model student.

"[Cripe] was totally against drugs, he was totally against alcohol," Watts added. "He didn't do any of that."

Watts says like many, Cripe was doing something he thought was totally harmless, but Watts said the drinks can be very dangerous. 

He said he urges people not to consume them. 

"This is what's dangerous about this," Watts said. "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's not something that just because you drink one drink or three drinks is necessarily going to have this effect on."

The boy's parents were also at the announcement. 

"Davis was a great kid, and being his parent was a great honor to Heidi [his mother] and me," said Sean Cripe, his father.

He echoed Watts' call for people to avoid highly caffeinated drinks. 


"I stand before you as a brokenhearted father and hope that something good can come from this," Cripe said. "Parents, please, talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students, please stop buying them. There's no reason to consume them they can be very dangerous."

An initial autopsy done on the boy did could not reveal the cause of death. Further tests were needed to reach the conclusion announced Monday.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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