Autopsy: UW-La Crosse student had 0.21 blood alcohol level when she died

2013-02-20T05:40:00Z Autopsy: UW-La Crosse student had 0.21 blood alcohol level when she diedANNE JUNGEN | La Crosse Tribune
February 20, 2013 5:40 am  • 

A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student from Evansville found in a ditch Sunday after leaving a local bar had a preliminary 0.21 percent alcohol level, authorities said Tuesday.

An autopsy done Tuesday in Madison on Neala Frye revealed the 23-year-old died of hypothermia secondary to intoxication, La Crosse County Medical Examiner John Steers said.

Final toxicology results could take weeks.

Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic said authorities did not suspect foul play but called in the state Division of Criminal Investigation to help with the case.

An Onalaska police officer found Frye’s body in a ditch adjacent to the railroad tracks bordering the Black River about 300 yards south of where Irvin Street ends about 8:40 p.m. Sunday.

Police and Frye’s friends spent the day searched for the university senior after she failed to show for her shift at Menards.

Frye spent Saturday night at the Spillway Pub, 209 Irvin St., for a promotional event for Body and Sol Tanning where she also worked.

Surveillance video from the bar shows Frye leaving the tavern alone about 1 a.m. and a motorist saw a woman authorities believe was Frye walking across Second Avenue South toward the river between 1:30 and 2 a.m., Trotnic said.

Frye’s friends wouldn't speculate on what led to her death, but insisted it would uncharacteristic for her to get drunk at an unfamiliar bar without her friends, especially while working.

La Crosse Tribune reporter Patrick B. Anderson contributed to this report.

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