Police: 12 hospitalized after overdosing at nightmare party

Police: 12 hospitalized after overdosing at nightmare party
ROSLYN, Wash. - Twelve young people were rushed to the hospital overnight after they overdosed on a powerful drug that apparently was mixed into their drinks without their knowledge at a party, police said.

Most of the victims were young women who attend Central Washington University. Detectives are now investigating whether they were given spiked drinks to render them defenseless against a sexual assault - but were saved by the timely arrival of police at the scene.

"It's certainly a concern we have - that the women were targeted moreso than the men for possibly nefarious reasons," said Rosyln-Cle Elum Police Chief Scott Ferguson. "The majority of the people affected by the drugs were females."

"It was really scary," said Katelynn Allen, a Central Washington University freshman who was at the party but did not drink.

"Everything was going fine, the music was playing, people were having fun - and then all of a sudden all the girls were puking everywhere," she said. "Girls were outside on their backs."

An estimated 50 people were at the party, Ferguson said. He said none of the young people who overdosed meant to get high or unconscious, and none had more than one or two drinks.

"We don't believe this was just a result of heavy drinking," Ferguson said.

Some of the victims were released from the hospital Saturday, but at least three remain hospitalized - including one young woman who is in serious condition at Kittitas Valley Community Hospital after the bizarre drama.

No arrests have been made, and police are still trying to determine who spiked the drinks.

Central Washington University students who attended the party told KOMO News on Saturday that they believe a bottle of vodka at the party had been spiked with a date-rape drug known as "roofies."

They say several people at the party used vodka from the bottle to make mixed drinks. There were also pre-mixed drinks in red cups that may have been spiked, some of the party-goers told KOMO News.

Those who brought their own alcohol, drank beer or didn't drink any alcohol were not affected, the students said.

Chris Unger, a Central Washington University freshman, said people started falling unconscious soon after he arrived at the party.

"When I got there people started falling like flies," he said. "I carried about four people downstairs. ... We were pretty much worried about them passing out and stuff because they were not responsive - they weren't doing anything."

He and other students at the party said they are convinced someone spiked the drinks with a date-rape drug known as "roofies." The drug is a powerful sedative and hypnotic.

"Even if you're a lightweight, you don't just black out like that. We knew it was roofies," Unger said.

The incident began at about 11:10 p.m. Friday when members of the Cle Elum-Roslyn police responded to a report of a possible poisoning or overdose victim in a car in the Safeway parking lot in Cle Elum.

The overdose victim, a young woman, was unconscious when officers arrived. She was rushed to the hospital as officers questioned her friends.

Information from the friends led officers and deputies to a home in Roslyn where it was reported that multiple other people were suffering from overdoses of an unknown substance.

When law enforcement officials arrived, they found a large party in progress, overflowing with people who were unconscious or semi-conscious.

When officers entered a back bedroom, they found a man having sex with a semi-conscious young woman. The man was detained and questioned, but was later released after it was determined that the woman was his girlfriend and was over 18 years old.

A total of 11 people, mostly young women, were taken to Kittitas Valley Community Hospital, and one person was taken to a Yakima hospital for treatment because there was no more room at the Kittitas Valley hospital.

Four of the patients required Advanced Life Support. The unconscious victim who was found at the Safeway store remains in serious condition.

There were so many victims that ambulances had to be called in from all over Kittitas County, Ferguson said.

About 35 other people were interviewed at the scene of the party.

Police still have not determined who spiked the drinks with the drug, but said arrests are possible as the investigation proceeds.

The man who owns the rental home was not at the party. Police said the homeowner's son hosted the party, but they have no evidence that he is the one who slipped the drug into the drinks.

Ferguson said none of the substance was found during a search of the party house.

Toxicology tests are being run on blood and urine samples taken from the victims to help determine what the substance might have been, Ferguson said.

The incident coincided with the Roslyn Crawl, a heavily advertised entertainment event in Roslyn involving some 20 bands at three venues.