Samantha Spady consumed 30 to 40 beers or shots over 11 hours,
before she was found dead in an unused room of a fraternity house
on Sept. 5, according to Fort Collins Police Services.
The sophomore business major from Beatrice, Neb., had a
blood-alcohol level of .436, and with Spady’s 5-foot-6-inch,
126-pound frame, her Blood Alcohol Content was indicative of 30 to
40 12-ounce beers or 1.5-ounce shots over an eight- to 10-hour
period, said Dean Beers, deputy coroner. A BAC of .400 is
considered a lethal level, Beers said.
Following the conclusion of the investigation into the
19-year-old’s death, officials released details and a timeline of
the hours preceding her death in a press conference Friday
The autopsy concluded no foul play in Spady’s death, including
the absence of drugs in her system, and no signs of trauma to the
student, sexually or physically.
On Sept. 4, Spady picked up a female friend at Westfall Hall
around 5:45 p.m. and arrived at her first party of the night off
South Taft Hill Road, between West Prospect and West Drake roads,
about 15 minutes later.
She began drinking at the house party while watching the CSU vs.
University of Colorado-Boulder football game and had a hot dog and
some chips and dip, said Kristy Volesky, a police detective.
“I think for this group it was pretty much regular to get
together and drink,” Volesky said.
Spady did not eat the rest of the evening, but she continued
drinking while attending two other private house parties and
arriving at the Sigma Pi fraternity house, 709 Wagner Dr., around 2
After drinking beer and then sharing one to two bottles of
McCormick’s Vanilla Vodka with seven to 10 other people at the
fraternity house, Spady became so intoxicated she could not stand
up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m.
“Her friends said they have seen her that intoxicated before,”
Two of Spady’s friends assisted her to an unused room containing
extra house furniture. Officials said it was not unusual for Spady
to spend the night at the fraternity house because she was a friend
of many of the members.
“She was incoherent, but alive at the time she was put in the
room,” Beers said.
Spady was last checked on around 5:45 a.m. and she may have died
anywhere from a few minutes to several hours after that time, Beers
said. Although the exact time of death is unclear, Beers said Spady
became unconscious and lapsed into a coma before she died. There
were no signs of suffocation or attempts by her body to expel the
“She binged at the end and that’s what really made a difference
– the higher quantity at the end,” Volesky said.
A fraternity member who did not live in the Sigma Pi house found
Spady at 6:22 p.m. Sept. 5 while giving his mother a tour of the
house. Spady received 27 calls on her cell phone from people who
were looking for her during the day; the fraternity house also
received several calls throughout the day from people looking for
“What happened was the people that put her in the room had gone
home and the people that lived there did not know she was there,”
The investigation into Spady’s death also spurred citations for
19 people, including 17 CSU students, for underage drinking and/or
supplying alcohol to a minor.
“We do not have any evidence that people forced her to drink, it
is just that there was alcohol at these various parties,” said
Cliff Riedel, chief deputy district attorney.
The 19 people, ranging from 19 to 24 years old, who are “not
tied to Spady specifically,” are scheduled to appear in court for
arraignment on Oct. 27, Reidel said.
Officials hope the details released from the two-week
investigation offer finality to the community and people close to
“We’re pleased to bring closure to the case and to provide her
family and friends and the community with answers as to how such a
tragic event occurred,” said Rita Davis, spokeswoman for FCPS.
While the investigation’s conclusion offers answers, Police
Chief Dennis Harrison said it also signals the beginning of an
ongoing battle against cultural norms of excessive drinking.
“We do agree on one thing – this is not the first time this type
of thing has happened,” Harrison said. “It’s not just college, it
is a cultural issue. It is going to take the whole community, not
pointing the finger of blame, but saying ‘where do we go from
Harrison, also a member of the task force to investigate alcohol
use at CSU, added that alcohol education and teaching
accountability and responsibility could ensure Spady did not die in
“If anything, Sam Spady could live on….” Harrison said.
“There’s got to be an answer, there has to be a way.”