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Teen-age girl dies after drinking on a dare

June 19, 1997

ORLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) _ A 16-year-old cheerleader who died within 24 hours of drinking a bottle of 107-proof schnapps on a dare had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the state’s legal limit.

Elizabeth Wakulich was pronounced dead with a 0.38 percent blood-alcohol level, nearly 12 hours after she downed a quart of liquor on a dare.

Her blood-alcohol level probably was closer to 0.60 shortly after the binge, the Cook County medical examiner’s office estimated. A blood-alcohol level of 0.40 can kill.

Elizabeth was out with friends early Monday when she answered a dare to drink the schnapps, which had an alcohol content of more than 53 percent, investigators said.

Hours after she vomited and passed out, friends took her to the home of a friend, Nichole Gushi. Authorities were called after the family couldn’t wake her that afternoon.

``I wished I would have heard the girls come in,″ said Rick Gushi, Nichole’s father. ``I wish I would have known so I could have called an ambulance and saved that baby’s life.″

In Illinois, a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 is the legal limit for intoxication. Lawmakers are considering a tougher standard, of 0.08 percent.

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