ZIONSVILLE, Ind. - After an Indiana University freshman died Saturday morning after falling at an off-campus party, we talked to students about a law that may have saved her life – if it had been utilized sooner.
Nineteen-year-old Rachael Fiege was a Zionsville native. She played soccer at Zionsville High School and was set to study nursing.
Police said she died from critical injuries after falling at an off-campus party early Friday.
IU police believe it took at least six hours for someone in the house she was in to call for help.
Police estimate Fiege fell down a flight of stairs sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. Friday, but no one called 911 until nearly 8 a.m. Saturday night IU students told RTV6 reporter Eboné Monét they have varied levels of understanding about a possible explanation for the delayed call for emergency aid.
“Obviously I would say because they’re underage, they were scared, they wanted to just wait it out. They probably thought she was too drunk, so they wanted her to sleep it off, but they were scared because they thought they were going to get in trouble,” said student Lori Hoffmann.
“I don’t care what my age is, I don’t care if I’m going to get a drinking ticket, if I’m going to go to jail, even if I don’t know you – I’m going to help you out,” said student Adrienne Seymour .
If someone cooperates with authorities and seeks medical attention for someone who is having an alcohol-related emergency, Indiana's Lifeline Law gives immunity to that person for public intoxication, minor possession, minor consumption and minor transportation.
Students told RTV6 that the Lifeline Law can prevent other alcohol-related emergencies from going unreported, but many say they didn't know about it until Fiege, a classmate with plans to study nursing, died.
Police say Fiege moved into the residence halls last week.
It remains unclear as of Saturday night whether alcohol was involved, though police said there was alcohol available in the house.
The Department of Health said more than two dozen Hoosiers under the age of 21 have died since 2004 from alcohol poisoning.
If bystanders had called for help, health professionals said the cases likely would not have been fatal.
Dawn Finbloom knows better than most the pain the parents of Fiege are feeling. Her 18-year-old son died last year after drinking too much at a party, just days before heading off to college.
His friends were afraid to call 911.
"There's many cases that I know of where teens have called, paramedics have come, they've been taken to the hospital, and the next day, they're talking and they're fine and they're alive," Finbloom said.
Finbloom hopes to spread her message by speaking to more than 30 groups last year and she plans to take her campaign about making good decisions to even more places this year.
Finbloom and others hope kids will remember the acronym CHILL. Call Help Indiana Lifeline Law.