Hospitalization of La Cañada High student leads to drug arrest of 18-year-old

An 18-year-old La Cañada High student was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and allegedly selling prescription drugs to a minor in an incident thought to be connected to the hospitalization of a La Cañada High School junior.
(File Photo)

An 18-year-old La Cañada High School student was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child endangerment and allegedly selling prescription drugs to a minor in an incident thought to be connected to the hospitalization that morning of a La Cañada High School junior, officials reported.

Dax Shmidt was taken into custody and booked at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Wednesday evening at around 6 p.m. after a search of his residence and vehicle turned up loose pills, according to Dep. Eric Matejka, who said Shmidt is a La Cañada High student.

“They appeared to be Xanax,” the deputy said of the pills recovered from Shmidt’s vehicle.

The male victim — whose identity is not being released to protect the privacy of a minor — was taken to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital after a teacher observed him in medical distress at around 11:35 a.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s officials reported.

According to a sheriff’s news release issued Thursday, the student ingested an unknown amount and unknown type of pills. When asked whether the pills were sold on the La Cañada High School campus, Matejka said, “not to our knowledge.”

In an unrelated incident the same day, another LCHS student was taken to the hospital for a medication-related health emergency. Both incidents were investigated and found not to be related to one another, Matejka said.

La Cañada Unified School District officials were quick to post an official comment from Supt. Wendy Sinnette Wednesday night on the “La Cañada Flintridge Parents” Facebook page, informing community members the matter was being investigated by school administrators.

In an updated letter posted by school board member Ellen Multari Thursday, Sinnette added the incidents had been thoroughly investigated.

“We are aware that there are substance abuse issues at LCHS — it is the reality at every high school and we face it as well,” Sinnette wrote, highlighting constant collaboration among officials, staff and administrators and ongoing educational outreach. “But, we also know that these extensive efforts, which for so long have been a comprehensive response, are no longer enough.”

The superintendent said LCUSD governing board members plan to discuss topics related to student health, safety and security at their next regular meeting Tuesday. She encouraged parents and community members to attend and share their thoughts about what more could be done to fully address the needs of students.

Based on Tuesday’s discussion, Sinnette continued, the school board will give staff direction for actions that will “expand our programmatic efforts in this cause.”

The meeting takes place Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., in the district’s Governing Board room, 4490 Cornishon Ave., La Cañada.

Twitter: @SaraCardine