November 8, 2012

Richmond teen safe at home following alcohol poisoning, exposure

15-year-old was found passed out in ditch along Front Street; two 17-year-olds charged in incident

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

RICHMOND -- A local teenager is back at home a day after he was found passed out and suffering from alcohol poisoning in a ditch along Front Street.

The 15-year-old boy was taken to a local hospital Wednesday night and was treated for poisoning and hypothermia, said Police Chief Scott MacMaster. Tests at the hospital indicated the boy had a blood alcohol content of 0.25 -- more than three times the legal limit for driving -- and a core body temperature of 95 degrees. The teen spent the night at the hospital and was released, MacMaster said.

"He's doing fine," MacMaster said. "He's very lucky."

The investigation has so far led to charges against two Richmond teenagers, MacMaster said. A 17-year-old Richmond girl is charged with supplying alcohol to a minor and theft. A 16-year-old boy is charged with possession of alcohol by consumption.

MacMaster said additional charges are possible, including against the 15-year-old who was found passed out.

Richmond Police Sgt. Adam Garland was called to Front Street around 8:35 p.m. after a passerby found the teen unconscious. The teen's nose was bleeding and he had scratches on his back, MacMaster said.

Responders initially believed the teen was suffering from alcohol poisoning and that diagnosis was later confirmed when the teen underwent tests at the hospital, MacMaster said. Garland initially wondered if the teen had been hit by a car, but police have since ruled that out.

"We weren't sure exactly what was going on," MacMaster said.

Garland, who spoke to the teen's mother before paramedics arrived, later learned that the boy had been drinking with a few other teens at a home on Hatch Street. He was found about a half-mile from his home.

"The thought at this point is he was walking home," MacMaster said.

Police aren't sure how long the teen had been lying in the ditch. The friends began drinking on Hatch Street around 6 p.m., MacMaster said.

The scrapes on the teen's back likely happened when he fell into the ditch, MacMaster said. He doesn't know why the teen had a nose bleed, but police are investigating whether an assault was involved.

Craig Crosby -- 621-5642

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