Promising life cut short by ‘death mix’

To the Editor of Lumen,

Our son died tragically on [July 15, 2011]. His death was completely preventable.

He had just returned home at the end of May after graduating from Viterbo University, in La Crosse. He had majored in Digital Media and had a bright future ahead of him. He was incredibility creative in ev­ery aspect of media and hoped to someday work in film editing and open his own company.

A week and a half before he died, we co-signed a loan so he could trade in the heap of a car he had since high school, for a 2009 Toyota Camry. He committed to five years of payments that he felt ready to take on.

He was searching for jobs and considering his options both locally and out of state. He was not ready to die! It was not his time!

Jeff’s grade school friend, An­drew, had just returned from Af­ghanistan and was home on a one month leave. Jeff was thrilled that he was back. They had been togeth­er nearly every day that week.

On July 15, Jeff had planned a small get together at our house. About four-five young adults, all over 21 years old, came over.

Earlier that day, Jeff and Andrew stopped at a convenience store/gas station on Loomis and Layton in Greenfield and bought a bottle of Everclear to mix with Red Bull and Gatorade. The mix we found out later is called Tucker’s Death Mix.

If you are not familiar with Everclear, it is 190 proof alcohol. It is mostly sold to young adults. It is banned in many countries and many states in the United States. Wisconsin allows it to be legally sold in both the 151 and 190 proofs. We have since learned all of this since Jeff’s death.

Jeff did not start to drink until after 8:30 p.m. Only he and Andrew were drinking the mix. The Red Bull gives you a buzz to keep you going, so you do not feel the effects of the alcohol that is trying to slow you down.

His friends said he jumped in the pool and was swimming frantically, doing several laps. It is my best guess that his heart was speeding from the Red Bull and he thought he could just swim it off. Instead he became unconscious from the Ever­clear and went to the bottom of the pool. A pool he had not been in all summer despite the record temps. A pool he grew up in. A pool he could have stood up in at any moment, at any spot, but couldn’t, because he had alcohol intoxication.

In two short hours, he was three times the legal drinking limit. In two short hours, I was doing CPR trying to save his life. In two short hours, high proof alcohol killed our son.

High Proof alcohol is glorified in movies, music, and YouTube has captured the eyes and ears of young adults.

We never again want to see a young, promising life lost to high proof alcohol. We look to our lead­ers to say enough is enough. We plead with [our leaders] take the steps necessary to ban this poison from our state.

Young adults believe they are in­vincible and nothing will ever hap­pen to them. Our therapist said the frontal brain is not fully developed until age 25-26. We don’t want to hear that because Jeff was 22 years old, he was an adult. He was still a kid, fully dependent on his parents. He was just beginning his new role in life. He was stupid that night and paid the ultimate price for a very bad choice.

If it was not available, it was a choice he could not have made.

Luanne and Jerry Wielichowski

Leave a comment


  1. Common sense

     /  July 5, 2012

    Come on, the availability of this drink is not why your son died. He was beyond irresponsible. Banning something because it was abused, is illogical . Common sense prevails here

  2. dude

     /  December 6, 2012

    Sad about your son but don’t ruin it for everyone because he was irresponsible.


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