Student is 3rd rave drug fatality in San Bernardino County since 2006
A Times review of coroners’ records found that three people have died after taking Ecstasy and attending San Bernardino County raves staged by Insomniac since 2006.
The Times examined coroners’ records in nine states after the top executives of Insomniac and another promoter, Go Ventures — Pasquale Rotella and Reza Gerami, respectively — were indicted on bribery and other charges in connection with raves held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena.
Arrel Christopher Cochon, 22, or “Achri” as he was known to his family and friends, was at least the 16th person nationwide to die of drug-related causes in that time after attending raves produced by Insomniac or Go Ventures Inc., the records show. Most of the dead were in their teens or 20s.
The Los Angeles City College student had never been to a rave until September.
“I was told that he took Ecstasy,” said his mother Isabel Cochon, who struggled to speak through tears.
He died of an Ecstasy and methamphetamine overdose after collapsing and suffering a seizure at Insomniac Inc.'s Nocturnal Wonderland concert in Devore in September, according a coroner’s report.
Since the review of coroners’ records was published in February, nine rave-goers across the country have died of suspected or confirmed overdoses of Ecstasy, Molly or other drugs, according to news accounts, police reports and autopsy findings. Two of those concerts were produced by Insomniac.
The concert that drew Cochon and his friends took place at the county-owned San Manuel Amphitheater. Insomniac shifted the rave there earlier this year after residents complained of drug use during the company’s previous concerts at the nearby National Orange Show Events Center.
In an emailed statement, Insomniac spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said of Cochon’s death: “The Insomniac family is deeply saddened that this happened, where someone made a choice that ended their life too soon. Insomniac takes every reasonable precaution to help keep our fans safe and informed about the dangers of drug use.”
The company’s Web posting for Nocturnal Wonderland advised ticket buyers that drug use would not be tolerated and that narcotics officers would be present.
“Unfortunately, we cannot control the decisions that people make, and we hope that the fans will learn from this heartbreaking situation and realize that the decision to take drugs can do irreparable harm,” Forkish said.
Isabel Cochon said her son staggered away from his friends at the concert in search of water — extreme thirst is a symptom of Ecstasy toxicity — and fell to the ground. He stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest as paramedics rushed him to Community Hospital of San Bernardino, where he slipped into a coma, according to his mother and the coroner’s report.
After two days, he was transferred to Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. He died three days later. A Los Angeles County coroner’s report said Cochon tested positive for Ecstasy and methamphetamine.
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