Welcome, students! I hope you had a wonderful summer! And I know you're dying to head off to the bars, but if you'd just give me a few minutes of your time I'd like to introduce you to some former students who'd love to tag along with you. Each has his or her own story to tell, but really it's just the same story over and over again....
Samantha Spady, Colorado State University, a former homecoming queen, class president, cheerleading captain and honor student, died of alcohol poisoning after downing 30 to 40 beers and shots over an 11-hour period. She'd been left in a spare room at a fraternity house to sleep it off. A house member discovered her body the next day when he was giving his mother a tour of the premises.
Jared Dion, UW-La Crosse, had been out drinking with his buddies when he fell into the Mississippi River and drowned. His blood-alcohol level was 0.40, five times the legal limit. They'd all been waiting to catch a bus after leaving a downtown bar at 2:30 p.m., but Jared wandered off into Riverside Park by himself. He may have tried to swim back to shore, but the current was strong, the water frigid.
Colin Boyarski, Kenyon College, was found lying face down in a field early one Sunday morning. He'd been to an off-campus party the night before and was last seen alive at 2 a.m. His blood-alcohol level was 0.43.
Steven Judd, New Mexico State University, had told his father he planned to go out drinking with his fraternity brothers on Thursday to celebrate his 21st birthday. He died of a massive brain hemorrhage on Friday after being airlifted to Thomason Hospital in El Paso, Texas. They'd stopped at two Las Cruces bars where Steven, according to witnesses, drank at least 15 shots and 3-5 beers. They arrived back at the house at 2 a.m., which is where Steven was discovered the next morning, unconscious and not breathing. He was a criminal-justice major.
Christopher Berry, New Mexico State University, had been celebrating his 22nd birthday by drinking with friends. His roommate found him unconscious the next morning. Police reported a blood-alcohol level of 0.459, nearly six times the legal limit. He was an anthropology major.
Jenna Foellmi, Winona State University, a biochemistry major, started drinking at 11 in the morning and was still going strong at midnight, having attended several parties during the course of the day and night. She'd just completed her final exams. Her body was found the following morning in her off-campus apartment.
Leland Holly IV, University of Pittsburgh, went to an off-campus party where, after drinking an undetermined amount, fell down a flight of concrete steps. Friends thought he had merely passed out, since he had a history of losing consciousness after drinking too much. But when he still hadn't regained consciousness by noon the next day, they called 911. Leland died from blunt-force trauma to the head.
Steve Saucedo, UC-Berkeley, served as the bartender in an all-night contest to see who could consume the most alcohol, doling out shots of tequila, vodka and whiskey. The contest, in which he was joined by his cousin and four friends from L.A., was held in Steve's apartment, where his lifeless body was discovered the next morning. He was an English major, wrote scads of poetry and was thinking about becoming a filmmaker.
Mark Mueller, UW-Madison, was last seen alive at 3:30 a.m. He'd borrowed a friend's photo ID and visited several campus-area bars, then fell and hit his head outside Sellery Hall, where his body was discovered at 12:30 that afternoon. Because he was carrying a fake ID, it took the police four extra hours to identify him and notify his parents. It was New Year's Day, 2003.
To wish me a happy new year, write to: Mr. Right, Isthmus, 101 King St., Madison, WI 53703. Or call 251-1206, ext. 152. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.