Alcohol Contributed to Student's Death on Hilton Head Island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/04/07

Alcohol Contributed to Student's Death on Hilton Head Island

(AP) - A Dayton, Ohio newspaper reports a 20-year-old Ohio University women's soccer player who fell from a fifth-floor hotel balcony and died in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, had an elevated alcohol level.

Witnesses told investigators Sarah Merritt from Tipp City, Ohio, was climbing from the balcony of one room to another when she fell about 60 feet March 21.

Beaufort County Sheriff's Captain Bob Bromage says tests show Merritt had alcohol in her system. He would not release her blood-alcohol level. Bromage says it's thought alcohol contributed to her fall.

He says Merritt died of severe head trauma. Her death has been ruled an accident.

Information investigators obtained about who provided alcohol to Merritt will be turned over to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

See Students Shocked After Ohio Univ. Senior's Death on HHI.

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