Ultra Music Festival-Goer Nearly Died After Drinking Water Laced With Antifreeze

Categories: News

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For years, Ultra Music Festival avoided the deadly drug overdoses that had done in many other mega-events. This year, however, Riptide revealed 24 people were taken to the hospital during Ultra. One of them, a 20-year-old New Jersey native named Anthony Cassano, died from a suspected drug overdose.

But even that tragedy pales in comparison to the petrifying tale of how a 23-year-old went into a coma and nearly died after a stranger gave him water laced with antifreeze during Ultra.

"It was a horribly terrifying thing," says the man's mother, who spoke to Riptide on the condition that her and her son's names be withheld. "You don't think going to a concert is going to kill you, especially the water."

See also:
- Ultra Music Festival: Police Say Anthony Cassano, 20, Likely Died of Drug Overdose

- Ultra Music Festival 2013: Two Dozen People Hospitalized

There are no police records to verify the woman's complaint (because he lived). However, medical records she provided to Riptide back-up her horror story.

A spokesperson for Ultra did not respond to a request for comment.

The woman and her husband were awoken around 1:45 a.m. Monday, March 18, by a call from a doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He said their son was in a coma and near death.

"We threw everything into the car and drove" from out of state, the mom says. "It was either going to be a really short trip or a really long one."

When they arrived at Jackson, their son was unresponsive. He had a fever of 108 degrees, and his organs were shutting down. By Tuesday, doctors told the parents that their son needed liver and kidney transplants.

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George Martinez/gmartnx.com
Physicians were baffled. But friends at his bedside said he had chugged what he thought was water from a jug offered by a stranger. One of the friends had taken just a sip from the jug and had burns on his tongue from the specious liquid.

"Antifreeze -- that's what they now think it was," says the mother. "Apparently it's what the old-time drunks used to get because it's so cheap."

Shortly after drinking the wacky water, the 23-year-old dropped to the ground near the entrance to Ultra. He lay there, convulsing, for barely a minute before paramedics spotted him and whisked him to the hospital.

After four days in a coma at Jackson, the young man finally woke up. That, his mother says, was actually the most terrifying part.

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18 comments
freeny
freeny

 how can she blame a music festival for her son's poisoning?

someone intentionly poisoning people is not a defective concert or event it is a criminal act that occurred at the festival. it was not drug culture that assaulted and injured him, it was a depraved sicko.

poor kid keeps apologizing when he did nothing wrong.

put the blame where it belongs.

freeny
freeny

how can she blame a music festival for her son's poisoning?

someone intentionly poisoning people is not a defective concert or event it is a criminal act that occurred at the festival. it was not drug culture that assaulted and injured him, it was a depraved sicko.

poor kid keeps apologizing when he did nothing wrong.

put the blame where it belongs.

wecantfixthat
wecantfixthat

So Ultra advertised "free water" would be available, but had very little free  (extemely long lines reported).  However, they had plenty of $5 bottled water according to other reviews of this event. If that is accurate, how convenient for them to be prepared with that, but not the free.  So, when you set expectations that there was to be free water, why would people come with money to buy? Aren't these teenagers and young 20's?  I agree that anyone who shares water is operating in risky territory, but we're talking about young adults, many in college who naively trust those around them.

Gare
Gare

This is very unfortunate and I do feel bad for this guy, but I fail to see how this is this Ultras fault? If free water isnt available, you dont take it from a stranger, you buy it from the stands and wheel barrow guys that are everywhere at Ultra... common sense people. When will people just take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming everyone else for their poor decisions?

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter


A New Jersey woman has pleaded not guilty to murdering her brother-in-law with an antifreeze-spiked drink. According to prosecutors, Maryann Neabor's weapon of choice was a blended concoction of pineapple juice, maraschino cherries, and several ounces of the deadly automotive additive.


Ethylene glycol is the ingredient that makes antifreeze tasty. Though colorless and odorless, the syrupy alcohol derivative—which is excellent at lowering the freezing points of vital engine fluids—has a sweet taste that jibes well with soda, juice, and other sugary beverages. As many concerned pet owners and parents are well aware, dogs, cats, and kids are prone to lap up puddles of antifreeze left on garage floors. Every year, 90,000 animals and 4,000 children ingest the toxic liquid; if not treated immediately, the consequences of the poisoning can include renal or cardiovascular failure, brain damage, and death.

Carlitos Flores
Carlitos Flores

The ultra is a big magnet for drug dealers and consumers alike. is like an expo-center for drug addicts. ohh yhea they also have a party on the side, called the Ultra super store for drugs A to Z. i thought i saw a girl humping a tree no so long ago, at the end of the day druggies will do anything to get their fix even the 12 year old one how disturbing & disgusting parents! .they even pay over priced bullshit tickets, amazing :) . Yhea next year im opening a Glue Sniffing Booth head up young ones. FUCKING SHAME!

Kenia West
Kenia West

That sux. People are soo mean. The point of these festivals is to go enjoy n meet nice people that share the same love for music n.. well do some drugs lets not ignore that. But giving poisoned water is like handing out piisoned candy on halloween

Marianoell Gomez Arguello
Marianoell Gomez Arguello

I've been going to Ultra since the very first one in 1999 and yes there is always that one asshole that ruins it for the rest that go to it for the love of music. We don't do drugs or anything stupid and we sure as hell don't take anything from strangers. People need to stop stereo typing!!!!! It's so ignorant. Parents need to stop blaming ultra for drug use. The kids do drugs in clubs, at home, at parties everywhere not just at ultra. The majority are the idiot younger kids that don't know any better!!! It's the parents job to talk to there kids about drugs and guide them and hope they do the right thing. I also think Ultra should be for 18+ years of age. I have seen 12 and 13 yr olds there...where are their stupid parents?!!!!!! Saying Ultra is to blame for shit that happens is like saying that a liquor store is responsible for accidents caused by drunk drivers!

Armando Roberto Alfonso
Armando Roberto Alfonso

There are always a bunch of idiots taking things from strangers because they want to be on Molly's . This was my last year at this event. People watching there is awesome though.

Sebastian Antonio Leon
Sebastian Antonio Leon

I swear, this kind of crap only happens at Ultra (well, and other "EDM" festivals)

Cary Cary
Cary Cary

I think what the mother means by "serves him right" is that taking drugs is a choice you make and therefore should live with the consequences of that choice. But drinking what you thinks is water and being poisoned is tragic.

Nancy Ozon
Nancy Ozon

Armando Roberto Alfonso and this is just another reason why I won't be going to Ultra!

Svnnh Dgls
Svnnh Dgls

For a mother to say "serves him right" if this traumatic experience was to happen to her son on drugs, is pretty fucked up too.

987123
987123

Exactly. Besides, his mother is clueless. Her son may not be a 'druggy,' but if he was so desperate as to ask a complete stranger for water (from a jug- not even a bottle of water) he was definitely on something. Plus, his first words were "I'm so sorry." Guilty much? Another mother trying to blame the "bad bad world" instead of owning the fact that her son did something wrong.

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