Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Blood-alcohol level of cheerleader was .18%

By Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Maui County Bureau

WAILUKU, Maui — The 18-year-old New Jersey cheerleader who plunged to her death from a Ka'anapali hotel room had a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent, more than twice the legal standard of .08 for drunken-driving cases in Hawai'i, police said yesterday.

Any alcohol in her system would be illegal, since she was under the legal drinking age of 21.

Acting Lt. Tivoli Faaumu of the Maui Police Department said detectives are waiting for alcohol test results for two California men whose ninth-floor balcony Lauren Crossan is believed to have fallen from on Jan. 12.

Erik B. Larson, 20, and Donald L. Devorss, 19, both of Folsom, Calif., were arrested for questioning in the death but were released without being charged.

Crossan, a senior at Randolph High School, arrived on Maui Jan. 11 as part of a contingent of several hundred cheerleaders chosen by the National Cheerleaders Association to perform at last Saturday's Hula Bowl. Crossan met Larson at the Hyatt Regency and that night she ended up in his room, which he shared with Devorss.

The men told police they fell asleep and don't know what happened to Crossan, whose nude body was found by a hotel guest at about 7:45 a.m.

Police said there were no apparent signs of foul play, no signs of a struggle or any evidence of sexual abuse or contact. Her injuries were consistent with a fall.

Honolulu private investigator Steve Lane said yesterday that so far he hasn't discovered anything to contradict initial police findings that the fatal fall was a "miscellaneous accident," nor has he uncovered any intentional criminal conduct on the part of Larson or Devorss.

His preliminary investigation indicates the Hyatt Regency did not sell liquor to Crossan, and that neither Larson nor Devorss were responsible for obtaining the alcohol.

But the fact that Crossan was able to obtain and consume alcohol indicates a serious lack of supervision by the cheerleaders association, Lane said.

Crossan's parents, Charles and Diane Crossan, signed a contract in which they were promised nightly curfews, room checks and no activity unaccompanied by a chaperon, he said.

According to the association's newsletter for Hula Bowl participants, cheerleaders were not allowed to go anywhere without an escort, and curfew and other rules were to be "strictly enforced."

"Rooms will be checked each evening and you will not be allowed to leave your room after a certain hour," the newsletter said. A daily schedule for the Hula Bowl group showed 10:30 p.m. room checks.

Crossan was assigned to a room with two other Randolph High School classmates and one of the girls' mother, who was the chaperon. Lane said he hasn't been able to reach the chaperon and is uncertain whether she was acting on behalf of the cheerleaders association.

Officials with the cheerleaders group could not be reached yesterday in Dallas. Phone calls to the group last week weren't returned.

Lane was hired by Maui attorney James Krueger, who was hired by Crossan's aunt on behalf of the teenager's parents. Krueger said he was hired not for litigation purposes but to investigate the circumstances of the death and to help the family find some closure.

Krueger said he is trying to fill the gap between Crossan's exemplary behavior back home and the reality of what happened — a margin the parents are having trouble reconciling.

Krueger said the parents are so distraught that he hasn't been able to speak with them yet.

Krueger said some of the questions he will focus on is the lack of supervision and where Crossan obtained the alcohol. He hopes to establish a complete timeline, from Crossan's 4:45 p.m. arrival at Kahului Airport to her death early the next morning.

Reach Timothy Hurley at thurley@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 244-4880.