Healthy teen dies of heart problems after too much caffeine

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WAVY) — A coroner says a healthy 16-year-old South Carolina high school student died from heart problems after drinking too much caffeine.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Monday that Davis Cripe had no pre-existing heart condition that might have caused him to collapse and die in a classroom last month.

Related: Teenage boys more sensitive to caffeine

Watts says Cripe drank a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonald’s and an energy drink in the two hours before his heart fell out of rhythm at Spring Hill High School near Chapin on April 26.

Davis Cripe (Photo credit:

The teen’s father, Sean Cripe, is appealing to parents and children, telling them to stay away from energy drinks.

“I stand before you both as a brokenhearted father and hope that something good can come from this,” Sean 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.”

Watts says parents need to know that while a soda or a cup of coffee is OK for teens, large amounts of caffeine can be deadly.

“You know, a cup of coffee, a can of soda, isn’t going to cause this sort of thing,” said Dr. Amy Durso, Deputy Chief Pathologist of Richland County. “It’s the, the amount and also the time frame in which these caffeinated beverages are consumed that can put you at risk.”

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