Many teenagers engage in dangerous and outright reckless behavior, and, in some cases, those activities turn deadly. Everything seemed completely normal when 17-year-old Shelby Allen, a star student athlete who was in her school’s honors program, asked to spend the night with her friend Alyssa. It was the last thing she would ask her parents.
Shelby had been caught drinking before by her mother and because of this, her friends and activities were strictly monitored. However, being out of the house for the night meant that Shelby’s mother lost direct control of her.
This was all it took. While Shelby and Alyssa were grabbing some fast food they received a text from another friend, Jane, who told them to come to her house.
Jane’s parents were also home, however after they went to bed, the girls got into the parent’s expansive bar. That’s when Shelby made a deadly decision. According to a Good Housekeeping report:
According to statements to the police, Jane’s parents and her older sisters headed upstairs to bed around 1:00 a.m. Before retiring, Jane’s father admonished the guests not to drink. (He later explained to police that he was concerned the girls were thinking of drinking, and he felt compelled to tell them not to.) He then left them seated around the open bar.
That was when the drinking really got under way. Shelby’s drink of choice was vodka, and her goal that night was to down 15 shots of it. “I honestly don’t know why she got that number in her head,” says Alyssa. “Maybe she saw someone do it at a party. Shelby was an athlete [she played volleyball and was on the cross-country track team]; she had a competitive spirit. We all told her it was a bad idea, but she was determined to make that her goal.” She started downing the shots at 1:08 a.m. When the first bottle of vodka ran dry, the girls found more. Shelby took a photo of the second frosted bottle and then tracked her progress in texts to friends.
Shelby finished her goal less than an hour later. Shortly thereafter, she was sick in the bathroom. She was left there all night, propped against the toilet by her friends.
The next morning, when Jane discovered that Shelby was unresponsive, she immediately called her father, who had just left for work back to the home. He immediately returned and called 911. With the operator’s instruction, he began CPR. When paramedics arrived they found a weak pulse.
However, Shelby was declared dead enroute to the hospital with a blood alcohol level of .33.
Shelby’s parents were obviously devastated and began trying to get answers about what happened that night. However, Jane’s parents were fairly tight lipped about the whole situation.
Shelby’s parents were fairly surprised to learn that their legal options were fairly limited. California has laws that protect hosts from being held responsible for their houseguest’s drinking.
Now the Allens are mainly concerned with raising awareness for teen drinking and discouraging parents against providing “safe” drinking places for teens, who often times don’t know when to call it a night.