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Coroner says student's death caused by 'totally legal substance'

Davis Allen Cripe
Posted at 4:00 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 16:00:00-04

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says caffeine caused the death of a 16-year-old Midlands student.

Watts held a news conference Monday to discuss the results of the investigation into the death of Davis Allen Cripe, who died on April 26 at Palmetto Health Parkridge Hospital after collapsing in a classroom. 

"We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts says. He determined Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event after drinking an energy beverage along with other caffeinated drinks.

"It was so much caffeine at the time of his death, that it caused his arrhythmia," he said. 

"These drinks can be very dangerous," Watts says. "I'm telling my friends and family don't drink them."

Cripe's parents also attended the news conference.