AUSTIN KXAN) - As students head back to class, it's going to be rough for kids at Garcia Middle School. Monday night is Sophia Martinez's visitation at the Cook-Walden Funeral.
Austin Police believe the 13-year-old died after a night of drinking. Detectives are still waiting on Sophia's toxicology report, but have evidence to believe she died from apparent alcohol poisoning.
Her friend,15, told APD Martinez had several shots of vodka and whiskey on New Year's Eve. Police say 23-year-old Mario Hernandez and another man supplied the teens with the alcohol.
Martinez was dropped off at her friends house unresponsive. Hernandez is charged with child endangerment.
The incident has sparked the conversation about underage drinking, education and prevention to protect minors.
"Our hearts go out to the Martinez family and the Garcia Middle School family," said Aware Awake Alive, or AAA, co-founder Scott Starkey in a press release. "A big reason people die of alcohol poisoning is that those around them don't recognize the deadly signs. If anyone had called 911 when Sophia was unresponsive, she might still be with us today. "
The nationally focused, but Austin based non-profit, Aware Awake Alive, started after 18-year-old Carson Starkey died in 2008 of alcohol poisoning following a fraternity initiation.
"If somebody's in trouble and they need help call," said Mark Williams, an AAA board member. His eldest son played doubles with Carson at Austin High and they have known the Starkey Family for years. "Save a life, and kind of the concept is drunk or dying you make the call, we want them to make the call and save a life. "
The group along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, pieced together the Carson Starkey Alcohol Awareness and Education Act. It led to the Texas 911 Lifeline Law which offers limited immunity to minors.
TABC says if a minor is the first person who seeks medical assistance and they stay on the scene and cooperate with medical personal and law enforcement, then they will not receive a ticket for underage drinking.
"It's important for kids to realize that saving somebody's life is more important than being worried about getting in trouble with their parents, with their school or police," explained Carolyn Beck, Director of Communications and Governmental Relations with TABC. "Nothing is more important than saving your friend's life or even a stranger's life if you're in a situation like that. "
AAA says about 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 3 college students are binge drinking.
The group came out with an app, Drunkordying.mobi , that list different symptoms for alcohol poisoning and what to do if someone is unresponsive, unconscious, odd breathing, puking a lot, pale or blue skin.
Sophia Martinez's Visitation
- 5:00 p.m. - 8 p.m.
- Monday January, 7 2013
- Cook-Walden Funeral Home
- 6100 N. Lamar Blvd.
- Prayer service at 7 p.m.
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