Reporting Derek Valcourt
PARKVILLE, Md. (WJZ)— The Parkville community is in mourning following the death of a 13-year-old boy run over in the middle of Harford Road. But it’s how he got there that has some, including his mother, pointing the finger at a controversial alcohol drink called Four Loko.
Derek Valcourt explains the accident is drawing attention to underage drinking.
The death of Michael Truluck, 13, is devastating to the Parkville teenagers who came to pay respects at his makeshift memorial.
“He’s a really good kid. He’s smart but he just made a few bad decisions,” said Lauren McNamara.
Saturday, Truluck and his friends apparently spent the afternoon drinking alcohol in the woods of Parkville’s Double Rock Park. As his stepfather drove him home along Harford Road Saturday night, Michael became sick to his stomach.
“He drank one of these energy drinks with alcohol in them that these kids around here all seem to think are OK and he needed to vomit and as he opened up the door, he fell out and then was run over,” said Michael’s mother, Kris Keys.
Keys didn’t know her 13-year-old son had been drinking Four Loko, but it’s known as a drink of choice for teens his age.
“I hear a lot of people saying they went to bonfires or something, drinking Four Loko. I won’t do it; it’s just not right, man,” said Jared Martin.
While it may surprise some people that parks are a popular spot for middle school kids to come hang out and drink alcohol, addiction specialists say that’s not uncommon.
“The age of use of alcohol is getting younger and younger,” said Mike Gimbel.
Gimbel, a drug and alcohol specialist, says products like Four Loko are intentionally marketed toward teens and college students.
“It’s got flavor—there’s orange and grape. It’s cheap—less than $4 for a 23-ounce can. And it’s packed with booze. There’s four cans of beer worth of alcohol in one can,” Gimbel said.
Grief counselors are expected to be on hand Tuesday at Parkville Middle School where Michael Truluck was an eighth- grader.
UPDATE: Four Loko officials says that the beverage is not and should not be considered an energy drink because all caffeine was removed from the recipe in 2010.