Student collapses at annual drinkfest

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By Wojtek Dabrowski

A student was rushed to hospital with alcohol poisoning last Friday at what was otherwise a peaceful parade and picnic at Centre Island.

A 20-year old female Ryerson student collapsed around 4 p.m. at the picnic.

Several of the eight Metro police officers hired by RyeSAC responded immediately. “She had definitely been drinking,” said Constable Jeff Ante, who was one of the paid constables who helped put the fallen girl on a stretcher.

Ante said the student vomited several times while being carried to the Marine Unit cruise boat that would transport her back to the mainland.

Witnesses watched officers transport the girl, who was curled in the fetal position and covered by a blanket.

Once she reached the mainland, an ambulance took her to Mount Sinai Hospital, said Constable Stephen Livingstone of the Island Station.

The police have been a constant presence at the annual Ryerson event ever since 1982, said David Dteele, special events programmer at RyeSAC who is responsible for organizing the event and hiring the officers.

In 1982, a friend of one of the students who attended the picnic, drove off the ferry into Lake Ontario, broke his neck and died.

The incident was also alcohol related, Steele said.

Other than Friday’s overdrinking incident, this year’s picnic was orderly.

“The party was really tame,” said Constable Ante, who was once a student at Ryerson and remembers the event being rowdier.

At this year’s parade, an Eyeopener reporter saw students smear shaving cream on several officers, who took it all in good humour.

Staff Sergeant Stephen Henkel and the seven paid officers had no problems handling the crowd.

Approximately 3,000 students attended the picnic this year, out to drink, listen to music and meet new people.

A performance by Jazzberry Jam, a small Vancouver band, and a short appearance by Wide Mouth Mason kept the crowd in good cheer.

“The party was a definite success,” said Steele.

No criminal charges are pending against the collapsed girl.

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