Coroner: Cause of student's death a 'caffeine induced' event

Davis Allen Cripe (Instagram)

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Nearly three weeks after a teen's sudden death, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts released the tragic autopsy results of 16-year-old Davis Cripe. According to Watts, a deadly combination of coffee, soda and an energy drink caused a fatal heart issue in an otherwise healthy young man.

The teen's father stood before several members of the media Monday during a news conference to urge parents to talk with their children about the dangers of caffeine.

"I stand before you as a broken-hearted father and hope that something good can come from this," said Sean Cripe.

Davis died Wednesday, April 26th after collapsing in class.

"Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today were doing something they thought was totally harmless," said Coroner Watts, "And that was ingesting lots of caffeine."

Watts called the case a "caffeine induced cardiac event". In the two hours leading up to Cripe's death, the coroner says the teen consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte and an energy drink.

"The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, it's not to slam cafe lattes, it's not to slam energy drinks," said Watts. "But what we want to do here today is make people understand that these drinks, this amount of caffeine... how it's ingested can have dire consequences."

Dr. Mitchell Jacocks, a Cardiologist at Lexington Medical Center, says one to three 8 ounce cups of coffee is considered low to moderate caffeine consumption.

“The toxicity of caffeine consumption is variable," said Jacocks. "It will depend on the rate of consumption and how well you metabolize the substance.”

Dr. Jacocks says adults should have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. There is roughly 130 milligrams of caffeine in one cup of coffee.

"The half life, which is gonna be the time effect of caffeine, is generally on an order of around five hours," said Jacocks. "So for those of us who like to have more than one cup of coffee a day, spacing the coffee out tends to be a safer way to do that."

Coroner Watts found Davis Cripe had no heart condition and no genetic history of cardiac events.

Watts and the teen's family say they hope something good can come of his death.

"He was a great kid," said Cripe's father. "He didn't get mixed up in the wrong things, and we'll just miss him"

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