A mother from Victoria is warning parents to talk to their kids about responsible drinking after losing her own son when he drank a toxic mix of windshield wiper fluid and gas, thinking it was alcohol.
Dallas Landrie, 15, was drinking at a friend's house on Dec. 21, in Moose Jaw, Sask., where the family moved in February 2008 from Victoria.
When Dallas and his friend Dustin returned home that night, Dallas appeared to be extremely intoxicated, his mother said. She asked what they had been drinking or if they had done any drugs and Dustin, who was not nearly as affected by the alcohol, said it was cognac. What Landrie would later find out was that Dustin had stolen the glass cognac bottle from a man's garage months earlier and it contained a fatal mix of windshield wiper fluid, gas and other poisonous liquids.
Dallas spent the night vomiting and by the next morning, was dry heaving, said Landrie, who assumed it was a bad hangover.
The alarm bells went off when Landrie entered the bathroom to find Dallas hunched on the tile floor, kneeling in his own vomit. When Landrie tried to help her son up, he said "I can't see you."
They rushed Dallas to hospital around 4:30 p.m. and doctors began extensive tests to find out what was wrong.
"They said he was gravely ill and everything was happening so fast," Landrie said. "Soon he was not breathing on his own."
Dallas was rushed to Regina General Hospital, where doctors found the toxic chemical methanol in his blood. The poison had caused Dallas to go blind and was attacking his brain cells.
It's unclear why Dustin didn't get sick since they drank from the same bottle, but Landrie noted that methanol settles at the top, so it's possible Dallas had the first few gulps.
"They thought it was alcohol," Landrie said, noting that her son had only tasted alcohol a few times before. "They thought hard alcohol tastes awful."
By Dec. 23, Dallas had no brain function and on Christmas Day, he died.
He was remembered at a memorial in Victoria last week as a shy but friendly teen who loved playing with his three younger siblings.
Landrie said she and her husband always encouraged Dallas to be open and honest with them about alcohol, but they never thought to warn him about a situation like this.
"We never would have thought to talk to him about mixing stuff or not drinking from unknown bottles."
By Katie DeROSA
January 17, 2010
The Vancouver Sun