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White County teen dies after alcohol-related cardiac arrest

POSTED: May 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Authorities are considering new charges against a White County man charged with furnishing alcohol to a high school student after the teen died from alcohol-related causes Thursday.

John Gunter, 17, a 10th-grader at White County High School, died at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Thursday morning, five days after being brought to the hospital, White County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John O’Brien said.

White County Coroner Ricky Barrett said autopsy results were pending, but that Gunter went into cardiac arrest in the early morning hours of April 26 as a result of alcohol consumption. The teen had been hospitalized in intensive care in the days leading up to his death, Barrett said.

O’Brien said Gunter was at the Briarwood Drive home of 22-year-old William Midgett in Cleveland when Midgett gave Gunter alcohol. Authorities seized as evidence a liter of peach-flavored vodka from the home with "about a capful left" in the bottle, O’Brien said. It was not known how much of the vodka Gunter drank.

An ambulance was called to the home about 1:30 a.m. April 25. Gunter and Midgett were apparently the only ones at the home at the time, O’Brien said.

Midgett was initially jailed on a charge of furnishing alcohol to a person under the age of 21 and a probation violation from a prior misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, O’Brien said. He remains jailed while authorities consider new charges in light of Gunter’s death, O’Brien said.

Sheriff’s officials are consulting with White County District Attorney Stan Gunter, who is not related to the teen, on what new charges may be brought against Midgett, O’Brien said. Stan Gunter did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment.

An autopsy was scheduled for this morning at the Dekalb County Medical Examiner’s Office, Barrett said.



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