OSU Students Binge-Drinking Before Fatal Lake Jump: Report

Including 22-year-old student who died after diving into shallow water
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2016 8:27 AM CDT
OSU Students Binge-Drinking Before Fatal Lake Jump: Report
In this Nov. 25, 2013, file photo, Ohio State University students gather around Mirror Lake on the campus in Columbus, Ohio.   (Adam Cairns)

Numerous students were drinking heavily for hours before a traditional cold-weather lake jump last year during which an Ohio State University student died, according to newly released police records. The students included victim Austin Singletary, his friends, and many other students among the thousands who attended the jump into Mirror Lake on Nov. 25, according to the report obtained by the AP. Even the student who found the body of Singletary had been drinking, per the report. "Nobody was stumbling/falling down drunk, but they had definitely been drinking," said another student, who had been with Singletary most of the night, according to the report. The Franklin County coroner said Singletary, 22, died from accidental trauma to the head and neck caused by diving into shallow water during the jump, a tradition ahead of the annual football game with rival Michigan. The coroner said Singletary had a blood-alcohol content of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit in Ohio.

Friends of Singletary, a third-year student from Dayton, began drinking late in the afternoon the day before, according to the report. They arrived at Singletary's apartment around 7pm, where they found he had already been drinking, and moved to a fraternity house shortly afterward and played drinking games until around midnight. "Austin seemed apprehensive about jumping because he hadn't done it before," one student said, though another added it didn't appear Singletary "was peer pressured" into the dive. His family's attorney declined to say if they planned legal action over his death. Ohio State and the university's Student Government General Assembly say they're committed to ending the jump, although some students have been critical of stopping it. The university has also consistently discouraged students from drinking or doing drugs in connection with the event, a college rep says. (Why drinking in a large group could get you drunker.)

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