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Teenage girl dies of suspected drug overdose after attending weekend rave at L.A. Coliseum [Updated]

June 29, 2010 |  5:47 pm

A 15-year-old girl has died of a suspected drug overdose after attending a rave over the weekend at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a hospital official said Tuesday.

The girl was one of two rave attendees who were in critical condition at California Hospital Medical Center after the 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival. According to the event's website, guests had to be at least 16 to attend, raising questions about how the girl gained admission.

She and the other critically ill patient had been taken to the downtown Los Angeles hospital by ambulance directly from the venue, officials said. Both were treated for drug intoxication in the  intensive care unit.

“She came in as an emergency patient from the rave. She was in respiratory arrest when she got here, and she never recovered,” said Katreena Salgado, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

Salgado said the 15-year old girl arrived non-responsive and never woke up. She died shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A full determination of the drugs in the dead teen's system will not be known until an autopsy and toxicology tests are completed. 

[Updated at 5:50 p.m.: Pat Lynch, who manages the Coliseum, was stunned to learn of the death Tuesday.

“Oh, no. Oh, my God,” Lynch said. “I don’t know what to say. That’s just terrible.”

When asked how a 15-year-old was able to get into the event when the minimum age for entry was 16, Lynch said he needed to investigate.

"I'm at a loss," Lynch said. "... Sixteen is what the promoter requested, and I just don’t know….  I've got to  find that information."]

The event, held Friday and Saturday, drew about 185,000 people to carnival rides, five stages and performances by Moby, Will.i.am, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5. About 120 required transport to local hospitals, mostly for drug intoxication.

The volume of patients in need of hospital care led several emergency room physicians on Monday to call for an end to raves at the Coliseum.

Cathy Chidester, director of the county Emergency Medical Systems agency, said Monday that officials treat raves at the Coliseum like a "multi-casualty incident," which she said was similar to planning for a disaster like the Chatsworth Metrolink train crash, which killed 25 and left more than 130 others injured.

Tuesday's death was the latest in a string of high-profile problems at raves held at public venues. Earlier this year, at least 18 drug overdoses tied to Ecstasy were reported at a New Year's Eve rave at the Los Angeles Sports Arena — next to the Coliseum. And two men died of suspected drug overdoses during a Memorial Day weekend rave at the Cow Palace in Daly City, south of San Francisco.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II