by Jacob Jones
Moscow police say newly completed toxicology reports show traces of alcohol and marijuana in the blood of a University of Idaho student who wandered away from a party last month and died of hypothermia beneath a small bridge.
UI freshman Joseph Wiederrick, 18, was seen drinking at a fraternity house on Jan. 19 and slipped out shortly after midnight. Investigators believe he wandered for about four hours and contacted several people before taking shelter under a bridge on the outskirts of town.
Police Chief David Duke says the toxicology tests measured Wiederrick's blood-alcohol level at .17 percent at the time of his death. Factoring in his four hours of wandering, investigators estimate his blood-alcohol level could have started as high as .25 to .30 percent.
"That would be what you would classify as highly intoxicated," Duke says.
The report also found traces of THC, indicating recent marijuana use, the chief says, which could have contributed to Wiederrick's disorientation after he left the on-campus party.
Investigators had suspected Wiederrick may have mixed alcohol with energy drinks, which can reportedly cause blackouts. Duke says the toxicology report found caffeine in Wiederrick's system, but did not include any measurements or blood concentrations.
"We have nothing to corroborate that," he says of the energy drink theory.
Duke notes investigators have identified a "person of interest," who allegedly served Wiederrick alcohol while at the party. Officers expect in the coming days to cite that person, a pledge at the fraternity, with providing alcohol to a minor.