Spady death info released

Sep 192004
Authors: Christiana Nelson

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,”

Volesky said.

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,”

Volesky said.

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.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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