• Thu, Dec 12 - 9:00 am ET

College Girl Passes Out In Snow, Might Need Her Hands Amputated And OMFG I Dread The Teenage Years

shutterstock_166788005When I tell you that I dread the days when my children become teenagers, it is the understatement of my life.  My daughter is already a handful at two-and-a-half.  She reminds me a lot of me.  Which makes me think about all the crap I did as a teenager – I snuck out, I talked back, I renegotiated my punishments.  Yes, I was on the lawyer track well before law school because when I was 16 I cut a deal with my parents.  I came home past my curfew one night so they told me I was not allowed to go out the next night (it was summer).  I reasoned with them that one night out was approximately four hours so instead of not going out for one night, I agreed to come home one hour earlier for the next four nights.  They agreed.  My parents were never strict and that was one of the only times I was ever “grounded,” but even that didn’t stick.  And then college.  I honestly can’t even get into all the stupid things I did in college.  In New England, it’s a wonder this wasn’t one of them: passing out in the snow like a 19-year-old in Minnesota did this weekend.

She was dropped off by her friends in front of her house, but Alyssa Jo Lommel never made it inside.  Her tracks showed she went to the house next door, wandered down to a dead-end and ultimately passed out on a porch.  Her hands were exposed overnight where the temperature dropped to -17 degrees, -36 degrees with the wind chill.  According to the NY Daily News:

She was wearing just blue jeans, Ugg boots, a sweater and light jacket. But she had on no gloves when a passerby found her around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Her hands were three times their normal size — and may have to be amputated due to the severe frostbite and hypothermic conditions she endured.

The college sophomore was nearly frozen to death, police said in a report.

The hospital staff who treated her said she “could lose one or both of her hands.”  Her mother says it’s a waiting game at this point.  “It’s going to take some time to determine what’s going to happen. We are hopeful that her body will heal itself.”

I have no idea why she was alone after reportedly drinking for six hours, but her last communication was through Twitter.

Alyssa Jo Lommel reportedly sent this tweet the day before she was found nearly frozen to death on a neighbor’s porch while enduring subzero temperatures.

This just makes me want to cry.  In the age of cellphones and constant social media updates, no one was with her or thought to look for her.  A passerby found her at 9:30am the next day.  I don’t even know what to say about this awful story.  College kids do crazy things, and I think nine times out of 10 they end up fine.  But this one incident might leave this girl with no hands.

Someone remind me to follow my kids on Twitter so that when I see a tweet like this I will get in my car and drive to make sure she’s properly at home, on her stomach with her puke bucket underneath her.  I just hope they end up at college within driving distance.

(photo: cpphotoimages/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • Kay_Sue

    I can’t imagine why her friends didn’t make sure she actually went inside. Even when we’re stone cold sober, whoever is driving makes sure the other gets inside, whether I’ve been hanging out with my sisters or my friends. Maybe we are just paranoid.

    This whole thing is so incredibly sad. No one would have thought to look for her–they were probably operating on the assumption that she was passed out cold and would wake up with no more than a bad hangover.

    There are so many reasons to talk to kids about binge drinking. I recently disagreed with Emily Yoffe’s decision to approach it from the “don’t binge drink or you’ll get raped” angle. There’s just such a real breadth of danger, I don’t want to say only taking the one angle trivializes it (because sexual assault isn’t trivial) but it does fail to communicate the truth depth of the dangers. I live in a college town. Two years ago, news broke that a freshman had been drinking, passed out by the reflecting pool in front of the library on campus, and drowned. Devastatingly, it was a young man we’d known for years–the son of my dad’s current boss. It really is a very real, ever present danger for teens and young adults.

    • Rachel Sea

      My friends and I always make sure we got in the door. What if the chain is on? What if house keys are missing? What if the roommate is humping his boyfriend on the livingroom floor, and you don’t want to be there for that? It’s such a simple thing to wait to see the door open, and get a wave that all is well.

    • AP

      I lived in Boston for 10 years, and the number of not-sexual-assault drunk accidents that claimed the lives of college students were remarkable. Stepping on skylights and falling through, falling off fire escapes, falling into rivers and ponds, thinking the proper response to a fire alarm is to hide under the bed, etc.

      It was sad, because it’s perfectly possible to get fun-drunk without being so far gone you can’t handle basic personal safety issues.

    • Kay_Sue

      Exactly. I wonder what the statistics are for drinking-related accidental deaths of college students. The incident with the young man I mentioned wasn’t the first or even the most recent by far–it’s just the only one where I can personally say, “I knew that kid from the time he was five.”

  • NonnyNon

    This is why you pick your friends carefully. If you’re getting that drunk, you should have someone who has your back. Someone who holds your hair away from your face when you throw up in the backyard. A friend who not only makes sure you make it inside your house when it’s that cold and your that drunk, but makes sure you make it to your bed. God, this poor girl.

  • Holly

    I live in MN and this is a constant problem- it seems if they’re not passed out in the snow in the winter they’re falling into the lake/river in the summer. You’d think these kids would know better to watch out for one another. My friends and I watched each other get into the house or car (drunk or not) for a variety of reasons. It’s just good sense.

  • Zettai

    Unfortunately the only thing that can hopefully deter not just underage drinkers but bingers are stories like these. And while it’s sad that her friends didn’t see her in, we don’t know how drunk they were, either! They were lucky not to get into an accident while driving around because chances are they were all wasted, too.

    To count on a drunk to make sure another drunk is okay is the most putrid example of the blind leading the blind that I can think of. This girl was not of drinking age but is an adult, and while I feel sorry for her and her family and hope she comes out all right, she can’t blame anyone but herself for this.

  • Margo

    I might be the minority but I don’t see why blame is being placed on the friends. This isn’t anyone’s fault and she doesn’t “deserve” this
    for drinking or for any other reason, but occasionally our choices have
    horrible, unpredictable consequences. I’m not unsympathetic to this woman’s situation but I just don’t see how her friends are responsible for her actions.

    • Kay_Sue

      I don’t know that anyone’s blaming the friends. I know I’m not–it’s just shocking to me, because it’s something that’s so ingrained in my circle. That does mean it’s their fault, just that it is surprising.

    • Max_Freedom

      They were neglectful and stupid.
      Probably not on purpose, but that is not how friends should treat each other.

    • Kay_Sue

      I’m not disagreeing. But putting the fault on their shoulders isn’t fair, either. Chances are, they were drinking too, and probably put as little thought into their actions as she did.

    • Rachel Sea

      I don’t blame them, but I know if they had waited to see that she made it inside, the outcome would have been different. I see it as a lesson that should be widely conveyed. There are a million reasons why someone might get stuck out of their house, everyone dropping a friend off should see that they get safely through the door.

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s my opinion too. I can’t imagine not watching–like I said, we still do, sober, not sober, doesn’t matter. I don’t see them as villains though–I imagine they are going to carry a tremendous amount of guilt from this, just as human beings.

    • Lizzy

      I Agree. Plus, I think the media uses the term “friend” loosely. Probably just some guys who were on their way home and agreed to “drop off” someone at the party.

  • Afton

    As someone who lives in Minnesota and lost a friend’s life in this same sort of situation the people who were with her should have walked her inside or watched her from the car. I consider it to be common sense, but obviously I guess it isn’t. This happens all the time around here. Maybe we need somehow teach kids about this sort of thing better because this is so sad and so preventable.

  • Max_Freedom

    The friends are to blame.
    They are not real friends. Screw them.
    This is a very sad story.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    Yes, her friends should have made sure she got in OK, but she should not have had 10 shots of tequila. We can’t get drunk, do stupid things and blame everyone around us for it. How do we know the driver was with them all night and knew she was too drunk to make it to the door? How do we know her other friends weren’t just as drunk and didn’t know better themselves?

  • pixie

    Having done my undergrad in Thunder Bay, Ontario (3 hours north of Duluth, MN), I’m actually a little surprised I never knew of anyone passing out in the snow. Whenever my friends and I went out drinking, we made sure everyone got home, either by actually seeing them walk in through the door or by text. If we were too drunk to walk properly in our party shoes, the DD would walk us to the front door.
    For us it was partly a weather thing, Thunder Bay gets very cold, but also it wasn’t always safe to walk across/bus across town late a night, so we wanted to make sure we all got home safely without passing out in the snow or getting stabbed. We still do the same thing when coming home from a movie at night or other sober activities.
    I’m not blaming the friends or their DD (if they had a DD), nor am I blaming her. Her friends/DD probably should have made sure she got inside, a “better safe than sorry” situation, but also perhaps she drank a little too much. There are factors on both sides, but ultimately it is a very unfortunate incident and I hope that everyone learns from the experience and thank whichever deity of your choosing that she is at least still alive.

  • SA

    Well, you must assume that the friends were probably about as blitzed as she was so not making the best decisions either. They probably didn’t realize that she was so wasted (hard to judge if you are wasted yourself) that she didn’t know how to get into her own house. However, one thing I was always taught since I was young is to sit in front of a house until someone gets inside….you never know if someone could be missing keys, there is someone lurking to follow them in, the person could fall before reaching the door, etc, etc.

    • Rachel Sea

      I would hope that the driver was at least mostly sober.