Students pay price for underage drinking


As the sun was coming up, students were lining up outside of the Monroe County Courthouse to pay the price for underage drinking during Little 500 weekend, which includes a $424 dollar fine and community service.

"It wasn't worth it at all," said two underage students who were arrested Friday night.

This year, Indiana Excise Police wrote a record 256 tickets for underage drinking-related violations during the biggest party weekend of the year at Indiana University.

While the weekend may have ended in court for some students, for 20-year-old Linden Whitt, the consequences were much more dire. Witnesses told police the IU sophomore and classmate Joe Lao, also 20, fell off of a second story balcony around 3 a.m. Friday.

Whitt later died from neck injuries. Lao told officers he had been drinking before the two fell.

This comes 11 months after sophomore Lauren Spierer disappeared after a night of partying. This latest tragedy sounds the alarm for parent Steve Langer.

"Absolutely, I think there's a drinking problem. I think it's out of control. I don't know what to suggest to stop it," said Langer.

Monroe County Community Corrections Director Tom Rhodes says the truth is, you can't prevent students from drinking entirely, but he hopes this will serve as a teachable moment

"Alcohol should not be abused. They need to understand the biological and social impacts and dangers and, hopefully, we can avoid tragedies like this in the future," said Rhodes.

But IU senior Rob Langer says don't count on it.

"Things like this, while tragic, happen. Students have a short memory in the long run, so it doesn't really effect them," said Langer.

He may be right.

The fines and community service, haven't seemed to faze one of the cited students at all.

"Will this change anything for the future?" asked Eyewitness News.

"Ah, no. No," the student replied.

Sixteen students at St. Joseph College were cited this weekend and eight at Purdue University.