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Second Person Dies From Drinking Wood Alcohol Passed Off As ‘Moonshine’

November 29, 1986

DEL CITY, Okla. (AP) _ A teen-ager died Saturday from drinking toxic wood alcohol passed off as ″moonshine,″ part of the same batch that killed one youth and sickened others who had attended a party where it was served, authorities said.

Kevin Elder, 17, died at Plano General Hospital in Plano, Texas, detective Mark Edwards said.

John Lowery, 19, of Oklahoma City remained in custody Saturday on a second- degree murder complaint in the death Friday of partygoer Timothy Scott Tilson, 23, of Oklahoma City.

A witness told police that Lowery poured the methanol into a 2-liter soft drink bottle and told people at the party that it was moonshine, authorities said.

Consumption of methanol can shut down a person’s liver and kidneys. It also can cause blindness and sometimes death.

Two people who drank the mixture remained hospitalized Saturday, one in Texas and one in Midwest City. Six others were treated at hospitals on the night of the party, where a 50-50 mixture of water and methanol was served.

The latest victim was not at the party, but obtained the methanol concoction in Texas on Sunday from Adam Wilson, 17, who got it from Lowery, the detective said.

He said he believed it would be up to Texas authorities to file charges in Elder’s death.

Wilson, who also was not at the party, was listed in serious condition with methanol poisoning at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Police were withholding the name of the Midwest City victim at the request of his parents, Edwards said, adding that he is in fair condition.

Meanwhile, two frightened teen-agers turned to police for help after learning that the ″moonshine″ at the party was really wood alcohol, police said Saturday.

″These kids got really scared and came in last night. We told them to go to the hospital,″ Edwards said.

The two boys followed the officers’ advice and went to the hospital, where they were treated.

Edwards said witnesses alleged that Lowery also attempted to serve the concoction on Nov. 22 and on Halloween, but no one would drink it because of its foul taste.

Another teen carrying more of the toxic liquid left for California after the party. He was tracked down by his parents, and the methanol was destroyed, said Dennis McGowen, an agent with the Oklahoma Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

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