(Daily Mail) – A 13-year-old boy who died falling out of a moving car while throwing up after being fatally stuck by a passing vehicle was drinking controversial alcoholic beverage Four Loko.
Eighth-grader Michael Truluck, of Baltimore County, Maryland, got his hands on the drink that was banned in nearby Baltimore City for its potent mix of caffeine and alcohol.
The drink was removed from shelves while makers distributed a caffeine-free version, after a series of legal claims it caused irreparable side-effects.
Baltimore County Police told ABC News the car carrying Truluck was making a turn out of the Auto Zone parking onto a busy highway in Parkville on Saturday evening when the accident occurred.
The driver of the car that hit him stopped at the scene, the station reports.
Truluck’s mother, Kris Keys, spoke at a vigil for her son on Sunday, where 100 of his peers were in attendance to pay their respects.
‘He drank one of those energy drinks with alcohol in it that all these kids around here seem to think is okay and he needed to vomit and he opened up the door and fell out and then was run over,’ she said, adding stern words about the consequences of underage drinking.
‘It is not cool to drink and to get high. Accidents happen on the best intentions and I’ve lost the only son I’m ever going to have because they wanted to party,’ said Mrs Keys.
Truluck was a student at Parkville Middle School in Baltimore County and uncle to his older sister’s 15-month-old son.
Police say no charges will be filed against the driver who struck Truluck.
Mrs Keys said her son’s friend confirmed an adult in the neighbourhood had purchased the drink, a malt liquor state alcohol distributors agreed to stop selling in 2010 after the Food and Drug Administration ruled it was ‘unsafe’.
Four Loko was also banned in Baltimore City.
Each 23.5oz can of the fruity drink contained 12 per cent alcohol – the equivalent to about four cans of beer – and 135 milligrams of caffeine, or two cups of coffee.
The Food and Drink Administration issued letters to four companies which produced caffeinated alcoholic drinks last November, saying they were ‘unsafe’.
It said the combination of the depressant stimulant created a dangerous ‘wide-awake drunk’ which could lead to alcohol poisoning, car accident and assaults.
Four states banned the drink outright, and others even began sending the drink to factories to be converted into ethanol after the FDA issued the warning.
The drink was replaced with a caffeine-free version in November, 2010, following the FDA ruling and several legal claims.
Twenty-three-year-old Michael Mustica, from Knowlton Township, New Jersey, filed suit against Four Loko’s makers, Phusion Projects, last March, after he says he developed a permanent heart arrhythmia after drinking just two-and-a-half cans of the drink on a night out in October, 2010.
At that time, Phusion Projects was already the subject of another lawsuit from the parents of a 20-year-old man who shot himself in the head after partying for 30 hours straight, claiming the drink made him erratic and ‘wired’.
In February, 2011 a woman was charged with child endangerment after her little girl drank a can of her Four Loko and ended up in hospital.
And in 2010, two groups of university students were hospitalised after drinking Four Loko.
A girl from Central Washington University nearly died and a dozen more needed medical treatment the Four Loko binge last October, which left the teenagers with blood alcohol levels of 0.12 to 0.35 per cent. 30 per cent is considered fatal.
In the same month 17 students and six visitors at Ramapo College, New Jersey, also fell ill after drinking the highly-alcoholic beverage.
Mrs Keys did not give any indication she had plans to sue the company.