AMES, Iowa — The life and sudden death of Iowa State University student Olivia Chutich continues to be felt on campus.
“Obviously it is devastating experience,” said Hannah Ashley who is currently a member of a campus sorority.
The 21-year-old was found dead outside of Delta Delta Delta on an extremely cold morning on January 22. Wednesday morning Ames police released news that Chutich died of hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication. Ames Police Department Commander Jason Tuttle said, “It wouldn’t take long for someone to be out in that weather and get disoriented but throw alcohol on top of that those are two things that don’t mix well together.”
It is a mixture that is now serving as a tragic reminder that police hope students can keep in mind. “Hopefully they have a plan of action when they go out. Who they are going to be with, how much they are going to drink and who is going to get them home safely?”
Hannah Ashley says it’s also brought the campus community closer. “Especially in a religious aspect I’ve noticed quite a few gatherings where people have gathered with common beliefs to share support for people living in that house and her friends and the family,” Ashley said.
In the hours leading up to her death Commander Tuttle says Olivia was seen at several Campus Town District bars. Investigators questioned those bars in person and looked at surveillance video and found no evidence that she was over-served at any of those locations. Tuttle said, “We go back and backtrack and look back at where she was that night and we’ve done that and we feel comfortable in closing out the case at this point.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time Ames police have had to deliver grim news about a student this way. “I can think in the 20 years I’ve been here we’ve probably had four of five deaths where students have died from alcohol and the elements they were out in,” said Tuttle.
It’s an eye-opening reminder of just how precious life can be. “As a member of a sorority myself, it has definitely raised awareness for making sure our sisters are safe. Just keeping track of your friends especially when it is so cold out,” said Ashley.
Signs of alcohol poising include mental confusion, slow breathing, and excessive vomiting. Ames police and Iowa State University say if you suspect alcohol poisoning do not let anyone try to sleep it off. Call for medical help immediately.