Cause of Elgin teen's death - alcohol poisoning - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cause of Elgin teen's death - alcohol poisoning

Elgin_It was more than just a rumor.  The Oklahoma Medical Examiner tells 7News that alcohol poisoning killed an Elgin High School student last October.  Sixteen year old Dakota Johnson's blood alcohol content was 3.36% - over four times the legal amount for an adult to drive a car. 

Three months later, investigators are still trying to determine how Johnson got the alcohol.  They know it came from a liquor store in Lawton, but aren't sure who bought it and Elgin Police Chief Carl Bremenkamp says his investigation into the boy's death had been at a standstill - until now.

The Medical Examiners report came back revealing the cause of his death - "acute alcohol intoxication".  "The cause of death, in layman's terms is alcohol poisoning," says Bremenkamp.  The Chief says it was not a small amount of liquor that killed him.  Police say Johnson's mother found him unresponsive in their backyard on a Sunday morning.  Investigators later found out he and some other students had attended a party the night before.

"This boy ended up with a liter of vodka - one liter.  And sometime throughout the night until they found the bottle the next day and it was empty," he says.  Bremenkamp says Johnson either drank it all - or he had some help.  "We'll go out and re-interview a lot of people we interviewed, plus a few more that we kind of bypassed on it," he says. 

Although Doctor John Yuthas did not work on Johnson's case, he agreed to explain the effects of alcohol poisoning.  "Blood alcohol content is just a measurement of how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream," he says.  "When it reaches a dangerous level, it causes respiratory depression.  You lose your drive to take breaths and as that becomes more severe you stop breathing and you die."

"This is been devastating to us and to our school and our kids and we're very sad," says Yuthas.  Elgin School Superintendent Tom Crimmins agrees.  "We would hope our students at Elgin Schools would understand that the use of alcohol can be devastating to their life," he says.  "His death was a very tragic accident, but we need to find out and prevent that from happening again."

Chief Bremenkamp says once his investigation is complete, they'll turn the case over to the District Attorney who will decide if any charges will be filed against anyone who may have supplied the alcohol or sold alcohol to a minor.  Superintendent Crimmins says it takes more than just educating kids about alcohol - he says adults need to be responsible and make sure it stays out of their hands.

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