Davis Allen Cripe, a 16-year-old Spring Hill High School student in South Carolina, died as a result of an excessive amount of caffeine, according to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.
Cripe collapsed at his school on April 26 and later died at the hospital. Watts offered an update on his cause of death on Monday afternoon.
He said the teen had consumed several caffeinated drinks that day, including a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte and also some kind of energy drink. All of the caffeine led to a cardiac event that killed Cripe. “We lost Davis from a totally legal substance.”
Watts said the boy was an accomplished student who stayed away from trouble.
“[Cripe] was totally against drugs, he was totally against alcohol,” Watts added. “He didn’t do any of that.”
Watts noted that energy drinks can be very dangerous and urges people to stay away from 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.”
Cripe’s parents were also present at Watts’ 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 also cautioned people to stay away from energy 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.”
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world.