Four Loko Cans
The New York Daily News is reporting that alcoholic energy drink, Four Loko, was a factor in the death of 13-year-old Michael Truluck. Creative Commons

UPDATE: Phusion Projects is extremely saddened by this tragic event and our thoughts are with this young boy's families and friends. This accident, and others like it, speaks to the serious concerns regarding underage drinking and alcohol abuse. We work very hard to ensure our products are consumed safely and responsibly by adults over the age of 21. We are staunch supporters of the need for stronger enforcement of existing laws, which clearly state that no one under 21 years of age should consume any type of alcohol. Those that sell or provide alcohol to minors should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On November 16, 2010, prior to the FDA's letter, we voluntarily reformulated Four Loko by removing caffeine, guarana, or taurine. We began producing the reformulated version of Four Loko on November 18, 2010. No shipments of our products containing caffeine from Phusion's production facilities were made after November 17, 2010. We were pleased that the FDA commended us on November 24, 2010, for our decision to voluntarily reformulate our products.

A mother of a 13-year-old boy is blaming an alcoholic beverage for her son's death. Michael Truluck, an eighth grader in Maryland, died after falling out of a moving car, and being struck by another vehicle. The young teen had been drinking alcohol prior to getting in the car.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the alcoholic beverage was Four Loko, a fruity premium malt beverage previously marketed as energy drinks up until 2010. The fatal accident occurred on Saturday evening when Truluck received a ride home from his mother's fiancée.

Truluck had vomited twice before getting a ride home. During the car ride, the 13-year-old felt sick, took off his seatbelt, and opened up the moving vehicle to vomit. Truluck fell out of the vehicle and was struck by a Ford Explorer.

Kristina Keys, Truluck's mother, told the Baltimore Sun that she believed he felt so sick that he was not thinking about anything. Michael Truluck was brought to Franklin Square Hospital, and died later that evening. Police will not be filing charges against the driver who struck Truluck.

Friends of Michael Truluck told his mother that an adult in the neighborhood had purchased the alcoholic beverage for them.

Four Loko (when it previously contained caffeine, guarana and taurine), and alcoholic energy drinks in general, came under fire in 2010 when college students were hospitalized after drinking them at a party.

In 2010 the FDA ruled that Four Loko was unsafe, and that the combination of alcohol and caffeine created a wide-awake drunk affect. The FDA stated that drinking the beverage could lead to alcohol poisoning, car accident, and assaults. In December, 2010, a ban was placed on Four Loko, and the product no longer contains caffeine, taurine and guarana.

According to the New York Times, doctors say that caffeinated alcoholic beverages are dangerous because the caffeine masks the effects of the alcohol, keeping consumers from realizing just how intoxicated they are.

The American Psychological Association says that the combination of alcohol and caffeine causes those impaired to feel like they can still function. This leads people to drink more which can lead to dehydration, increased heart rate and seizures, says