Exchange Student Eats Pot Cookie, Jumps to His Death in Colorado

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Levy Thamba Pongi

A Wyoming college student on spring break in Denver ate a legally purchased marijuana cookie that a friend bought from a Colorado recreational pot shop and later jumped to his death, the Associated Press reports.

Levy Thamba Pongi, 19, a native of the Republic of Congo, was a student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo. He jumped from a motel balcony March 11, and an autopsy report gives marijuana intoxication as a "significant contributing factor." This marks the first time the Denver medical examiner has listed edible marijuana as a contributor to a death, Michelle Weiss-Samaras, a spokeswoman for the office, told AP.


Investigators believe that Pongi and three friends chose Colorado for spring break to try marijuana, Weiss-Samaras said. One of Pongi's friends also tried the cookie but stopped after feeling ill, AP reports.

The friends told investigators that Pongi began to exhibit "hostile behavior" after he ate the cookie. Pongi began pulling things off walls and speaking erratically, the autopsy report said.


AP notes that the three friends attempted to calm Pongi and believed that their attempts were successful until he went to the balcony and jumped over the railing, according to the report.

Colorado law bans the sale of recreational marijuana products to people under 21.


Authorities said one of Pongi's friends was old enough to buy the cookie from a pot shop. It was unclear whether the friend might face charges.

"The Northwest College campus community continues to grieve after Levy's death," Pongi's college said in a statement. "All of us were deeply saddened by this tragic incident and feel for his family."


AP reports that Pongi started taking classes as an exchange student in January. He was studying engineering.

Denver police ruled the death an accident but said their investigation remains open.


Read more at the Associated Press.

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