Caffeine to blame for teenager's death, coroner says

Ebony Scott
May 19, 2017

The teen consumed three caffeine-laced drinks - a cafe latte, large Diet Mountain Dew and an energy drink - in a two-hour period before collapsing in his classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26, Watts said.

The 16-year-old did not have a pre-existing heart condition that may have caused him to collapse and die, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said during a news conference on Monday.

Watts said Cripe's death was "from a totally legal substance" and determined Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event after drinking an energy beverage along with other caffeinated drinks. "Instead, it was an energy drink".

Watts said an autopsy of Cripe showed no signs of an "unfounded" or "undiagnosed heart condition".

Experts also point out that energy drinks often contain other stimulants like ginseng and guarana which can add to the effects of caffeine.

"It wasn't a auto crash that took his life".

Sean Cripe, Davis' father, also made an announcement, WLTX 19 reported.

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

"The objective here today is not to slam Mountain Dew or to slam cafe lattes or energy drinks", said Gary Watts, Richland County Coroner.

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

A 12-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew contains 54 milligrams of caffeine.

When it comes to energy drinks specifically, "children and adolescents are advised to avoid energy drinks".

"Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks", he said. "It was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that it caused his arrhythmia". McDonald's does not report the amount of caffeine in its coffee.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, caffeine in doses up to 400 milligrams (about five cups of coffee) is generally safe.

Other reports by GizPress

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