Miami University Police have released a report about the death of freshman Erica Buschick that points to alcohol consumption as a factor in her death. Buschick was found dead in her Morris Hall dorm room. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Police report: Alcohol played role in Miami student’s death

Although the coroner’s office will not make a final determination on the cause of death for several weeks, the police report released today suggests that alcohol contributed to this tragedy.

Buschick, 18, of Gurnee, Ill, was a first-year student studying special education. She was found dead on Jan. 20 by her roommate at the Morris Hall on South Maple Street.

Buschick and her roommate returned to the university on Jan. 19 and began drinking alcohol in their dorm room, according to the police report.

The roommate said they “consumed approximately two bottles of champagne between the two of them and after the champagne was consumed (the roommate) said they filled a Dasani water bottle just over half full (approximately 8-12 oz of vodka),” according to the police report.

The young women then took the vodka to a party at an apartment on Poplar Street, according to the police report.

After consuming the bottle of vodka at the party, the women planned to go to the Brick Street Bar about 11:45 p.m. While the roommate was in the bar, she received a call from a friend of Buschick’s who said she was too intoxicated to get in the bar and she needed to come get her.

A cab was called for Buschick and her roommate, and they were driven back to Morris Hall.

According to the police report, the roommate and taxi driver had to walk Buschick into the dorm room. Buschick was placed on a bean bag chair.

The roommate told police she saw Buschick still asleep about 3 a.m. in the chair, but when she woke the next morning, she was cold and the roommate called 911.

A cause of Buschick’s death is still pending toxicology tests at the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

In an email message to Miami University parents today, Gregory P. Crawford, Miami University President, said:

“When I became President of Miami, Renate and I quickly learned that we were joining a very close knit community. That is why this message is so difficult for me, both as President and as a parent.

The loss of any student is devastating to the entire Miami family and when freshman Erica Buschick passed away on January 20th, we lost a vibrant young woman with hopes and dreams ahead of her. Our immediate focus was on her family and friends, and the University will continue to support them as they cope with their loss.

Although the coroner’s office will not make a final determination on the cause of death for several weeks, the police report released today suggests that alcohol contributed to this tragedy.

Even after just a short time in Oxford, I recognize the multiple efforts our campus has undertaken to educate our students on the dangers of high-risk alcohol consumption and to provide programs and resources to prevent it. I have asked our Dean of Students, Dr. Michael Curme, to reinforce this message to our students. With the help of external experts, I will be working with the University’s senior leadership to undertake a holistic assessment of our efforts.

High-risk alcohol consumption among college students is of concern to every university president and I am determined and committed to doing all that we can to help ensure the well-being of all of our students.”

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