Cardiac arrest caused by a combination of drugs and alcohol caused the death of a freshman at the State University College of Oneonta early Saturday morning, Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner told The Daily Star on Monday.
Daniel William Michaels, an 18-year-old from Dix Hills on Long Island studying business economics, was found unconscious on a couch at 34 Academy Street shortly after midnight, Brenner said.
Students interviewed said that Michaels lived in Tobey Hall on campus and was pledging the Alpha Pi fraternity, a Greek group not recognized by the university.
A group of students picking up a friend at the address noticed Michaels and alerted someone who lived at the house. A student called 911, but as police officers were responding Michaels was transferred to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in a private vehicle. He was in cardiac arrest on arrival and died a short time later, Brenner said.
A preliminary toxicology report was positive for amphetamines and benzodiazepines, but the amounts of the drugs will not be available until a full report is released in about four weeks, according to Otsego County Coroner Terry Knapp.
Michaels had a relatively small amount of alcohol in his system below the legal limit, Knapp said, adding that the drugs may have been ingested separately or combined as an ecstasy or “molly” capsule or powder.
Police are investigating where Michaels was earlier in the night and where he may have obtained the drugs, Brenner said, noting that foul play is not suspected at this time.
A GoFundMe page has been created to finance a scholarship in Michaels' name, and nearly $13,000 of a $13,500 goal has been raised in two days.
“Oneonta considers the students part of the community, and the loss of an 18-year-old member of the community is really heart-wrenching for everyone,” Brenner said.
Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .