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Felony Filed in Ill. Binge-Drinking Death

May 5, 2004

PEKIN, Ill. (AP) _ A 25-year-old man has been charged with a felony for buying the vodka involved in the drinking death of a high school honor student who had campaigned against drug and alcohol use.

People who provide liquor to minors in Illinois normally face a misdemeanor and up to a year in jail. But the law allows a felony carrying up to three years in prison when the case results in a death, prosecutor Stewart Umholtz said.

``Hopefully, the prosecution in this case will send a strong message to those purchasing alcohol for minors to have second thoughts,″ Umholtz said.

Bryan P. White has admitted buying a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka that Trisha Vance, 16, shared with her cousin at a birthday celebration last month, according to court records. The teenager’s blood-alcohol level was 0.439 percent, more than five times the legal limit for driving in Illinois.

White was charged Tuesday. Public Defender John Bernardi did not immediately return a call for comment.

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