TERRE HAUTE —
The new Indiana Lifeline Law — spearheaded by college students from several Indiana campuses — is aimed at preventing alcohol-related deaths among minors.
Yet awareness of the new law is lacking across state university campuses. In an effort to spread the word, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and state Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, made a stopover Monday at Indiana State University.
“More than two dozen Hoosier students under the age of 21 have lost their lives to alcohol poisoning since 2004,” Merritt said at Hulman Memorial Student Union.
“Unfortunately, the fact is, many of these deaths could have been prevented if bystanders or actual friends sought medical attention immediately for the victims.
“Indiana’s Lifeline Law encourages students to do just that — make the call to save a life,” Merritt said.
Indiana’s Lifeline Law, effective as of July 1, protects underage people, who seek to help others in need of alcohol-related medical attention, from being prosecuted for alcohol offenses such as possession of alcohol by a minor or public intoxication.
Merritt, a main sponsor of the law, said students from campuses such as Indiana University, Purdue University, DePauw and University of Southern Indiana pushed the issue to be part of Indiana law. Indiana University had an agreement with Bloomington police, Merritt said, that was similar to the new state law.
“Underage drinking is an issue that we need to continue to work on,” Merritt said. However, if “there is a party or social gathering and there is an individual who is overserved, so much so that their individual health is in a dire situation, those that cooperate, not just the caller, but those who cooperate and stay with the ill patient and talk with the police officer and make sure that person gets the care that he or she needs, they are granted immunity,” Merritt said.
Zoeller said the law allows for a defense, however it is an “affirmative defense,” meaning the person calling 911 or helping emergency personnel has to show they called or helped an intoxicated person.
“It is like an alibi defense. You show you have an alibi and here you show you called 911 or helped the person. The 911 recordings made will help in that,” Zoeller said.
However, since the law went into effect, Brett R. Finbloom, 18, a graduate of Carmel High School, died Aug. 5 of alcohol poisoning, Merritt said, after a pre-college party with friends.
“We believe, it is not fact, we believe that the kids [at the party] did not know the Lifeline Law existed,” Merritt said. “They did not call 911 for 30 to 45 minutes and since the kids were playing dumb, if you will, they didn’t feel like they could say that Brett Finbloom was drinking a half bottle of vodka, so the physicians couldn’t save him because they didn’t know what he had been drinking,” Merritt said.
“What is happening is kids panic and don’t really know which way is up. We don’t want them to panic. Just because someone made a mistake, they should not pay for it with their life,” Merritt said.
Merritt added the law is not an excuse for excessive drinking.
“We do not want to give incentives for drinking to excess, to binge drinking. That is a problem on our college campuses today,” Merritt said. “We do not want to say you can binge drink and not get into trouble. There will be a situation for that.”
Zoeller said prosecutors under the state law are sensitive that medical help may be needed for alcohol or even a mixture of alcohol and drugs. “When you see your friend in trouble, call for help,” he said.
Zoeller said it will take students and student leadership on campuses such as Indiana State University “to talk to their friends and neighbors and spread the word … to look out after each other and use the Indiana Lifeline Law when necessary.”
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.
AG Zoeller, Sen. Merritt tout alcohol-related death prevention effort at ISU
TERRE HAUTE —
- Local & Bistate
Illinois Senate approves sex education bill
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A proposal that revamps sex education in Illinois public schools to include information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases has cleared the state Senate.
Gregg pondering 2nd run for Indiana governor
INDIANAPOLIS — Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg is pondering another run at the state's top job, but has yet to make a decision.
Illinois senator apologizes for Nazi remark
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Sen. Donne Trotter has apologized for remarks that compared a member of Gov. Pat Quinn’s cabinet to a Nazi.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 22, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.
Rose-Hulman professor researching ways to make homes storm safe
Tornadoes produce greater uplift forces than hurricanes, which can flatten homes such as in Moore Okla., south of Oklahoma City.
Group wants to connect downtown Terre Haute with the Wabash River
Fairbanks Park is underutilized.
The Wabash River is peaceful and inviting, but there is some concern about its cleanliness as well as pollution levels. Also, people can’t get on the river unless they have a boat.
New conservancy district appoints first directors
Members of the first board of directors of a new lake conservancy district were appointed Tuesday by the Vigo County Board of Commissioners.
Vigo law enforcement signs Triad charter to protect seniors
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined Vigo County law enforcement and community activists Tuesday to sign the county’s first Triad charter, becoming the 22nd Triad in Indiana.
Wabash Valley Red Cross wraps up Save the Day Campaign
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter’s 2013 annual meeting concluded the 17th annual Save the Day Campaign, and the results lifted the spirits of all who were involved.
Some Vigo roads washed out
Spring storms resulted in $250,000 in damages to roads in southern Vigo County, with costs including sand and labor to save homes near river bottoms, said county highway Assistant Superintendent Dan Bennett.
County Council votes $78K toward rail spur
County officials voted Tuesday night to make good on a 2011 promise to help improve a railroad spur just north of Terre Haute for Menard Inc.
Spring flooding damages future CSO holding lagoon
Flood waters from the Wabash River have done costly damage to one of the city-owned “lagoons” on former International Paper property.
Vigo tops state average for IREAD-3 scores
The Vigo County School Corp. exceeded the state average in the percentage of students passing the state’s mandatory Grade 3 reading test, IREAD-3.
Storms cause minor damage in Valley
Tuesday morning storms in the Wabash Valley caused thousands of Duke Energy customers to lose power.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 21, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.
UPDATE: Damage surveys show 2 weak tornadoes hit near Indy
INDIANAPOLIS — The National Weather Service says storm surveys show two weak tornadoes struck central Indiana.
Storm causes scattered Indiana power outages
INDIANAPOLIS — A line of thunderstorms that moved across Indiana caused scattered building damage and power outages for several thousand homes and businesses.
Kindergartner diagnosed with MD treated to a day with the fire department
“He’ll just never forget this day,” Stacey Manley said, a little bit tearfully, as she watched her smiling 6-year-old son Carter sitting happily in the captain’s seat of Fire Engine 2.
Casey, Illinois aims for another world record
The town of Casey, Ill., may soon weave its way into the record books as the small town with the most world records. After setting records for the world’s largest wind chimes and the world’s largest golf tee, Casey is now looking to become home to the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.
Rose-Hulman projects will promote growth, learning for people with physical challenges
Life changed dramatically for college engineering student Drew Christy on Feb. 22, 2008 when he was involved in an auto accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
‘500’ gas stations being sold to Speedway LLC
After several decades in business, the area’s familiar “500” gasoline stations and convenience stores will soon be missing from the roadsides of Vigo and Sullivan counties.
Terre Haute woman faces 14 charges
A Terre Haute woman faces 14 criminal counts after her arrest Friday on drug-related charges.
Two adults injured in ATV accident
Two adults were injured Sunday evening while riding an all-terrain vehicle near Lexington Farms Subdivision off Moyer Drive in southern Vigo County.
Vigo schools’ medical claims down 4 percent
The Vigo County School Corp.’s medical claims were about $13 million over the last 12 months, down 4 percent from the prior year, said Diane Titchenell, an Anthem account manager that works with the school district.
2013 Government Directory now available
The 2013 Government Directory is now available.
UPDATE: 5 killed, 6 injured in I-70 van crash in Illinois
ST. LOUIS — A van carrying church members returning from a California gathering careened off of a southern Illinois freeway and overturned several times today, killing five people and sending six others to hospitals, authorities said.
2 children reported dead from Indianapolis fire
INDIANAPOLIS — Authorities say some autistic children lived in the Indianapolis condominium unit where a fire has killed two children.
Tighter Indiana drunken driving law seems unlikely
INDIANAPOLIS — Some key Indiana legislators say it’s unlikely that the state will any time soon go along with a federal safety board’s recommendation that the threshold for drunken driving be cut nearly in half.
Vigo County Jail Log: May 20, 2013
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, based on jail records.
Life-Size Ping Pong: Valley pickleball tourney draws large crowd to Brittlebank Park
It’s been described as “ping pong on steroids.”
Some people call it “life-size ping pong where you stand on the table.”
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Illinois Senate approves sex education bill