Teens arrested after locking drunk friend in room

Teens arrested after locking drunk friend in room


URBANA — Two teens who police say put their intoxicated friend in a locked dorm room and left him Saturday night now face criminal charges.

University of Illinois police Sgt. Joe McCullough said when emergency responders got to him, the friend was covered in vomit and “was in a position to easily asphyxiate on his own vomit.”

“This could have ended awfully,” said McCullough.

The incident started just before 10 p.m. Saturday when resident advisers on the third floor of Lundgren Hall, 1201 S. Fourth St., C, heard a commotion and saw a male and female trying to get an unresponsive man up the stairs and into a room.

McCullough said when a resident adviser tried to call 911 for help, UI student Ali Mahmoud Issa, 18, allegedly clenched a fist and threatened the adviser with physical harm. A second resident adviser was present and made the call for help.

“In the meantime, they had taken the man into a residence hall room,” said McCullough, then locked the door and left “so they wouldn’t get in trouble with the police.”

The room was Issa’s, according to McCullough. The woman with him was identified as Ieva Simulyte, 18, of Downers Grove, a friend of his. The intoxicated friend was 18 and from Burr Ridge. Only Issa is a UI student.

McCullough said residence hall employees obtained a master key to let emergency responders into the room.

They found the teen inside “incoherent but starting to become responsive.” He was taken to Presence Covenant Medical Center for treatment.

McCullough said Issa and Simulyte returned to the room a couple of hours later and after being interviewed by police, both were arrested.

The states’s attorney’s office charged both with misdemeanor reckless conduct for leaving their drunk friend locked in the room, knowing emergency responders were on their way. Issa was charged Wednesday with a second misdemeanor count of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening the resident adviser. 

Simulyte had been charged Tuesday with a second count of unlawful consumption of liquor by a minor.

Both are due back in court Oct. 31.

The maximum penalty either of the teens could get if convicted is up to a year in the county jail.

McCullough said Simulyte was also issued a no-trespass letter for the UI campus.

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Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 2:09 pm

How about "students" or "freshmen" or ANYTHING but "teens."

They are college students. They are of military age.  They can vote.  They can marry without parental permission. They can legally sign contracts.  They have full adult rights with the exception of buying, possessing, or consuming alcohol. 

PLEASE reserve "teens" for youths 13 through 17. 


They brought him to the dorm, which set events in motion that assured the safety of their friend.  Threatening the RA shows the need for consequences.

If he had been drunk and capable of walking they could have stayed with him away from the dorm and assured that he was safe by walking with him until he recovered or until they saw a need to call for help.  Throwing up was a good thing, purging alcohol.  But if he was passed out, unconscious and throwning up, he needed emergency medical assistance to save his life. 

If they abandoned their unconscious friend who had been vomiting, and they locked him in his room and left, then they need consequences.

They are legally adults. 

Mary Schenk wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

We at The News-Gazette agreed long ago to call anyone whose age is between 13 and 19 a teen. I respect your right to disagree with whether they are children or adults. Teen is about as unbiased as we can get.

Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Teen infers not adult, not fully responsible. 

It has been apparent that the NG decided this policy long ago... perhaps before 18 year old men and women could vote?  When 21 meant you had "come of age?"

I hope the News-Gazette will reconsider the policy.  In criminal situations using "teens" in descriptions minimizes culpability.

These are adults.

sanjuan wrote on September 03, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Gotta disagree.  In this case "teens" is relevant.  Yes older teens can get married without permission.  Older teens can enter into contracts.  Older teens can serve in the military, but, as you point out, no teen can legallly consume alcohol in Illinois.  The use of the word amplifies their status relative to the alcohol.



Skepticity wrote on September 03, 2014 at 11:09 pm

The use of the word minimizes the serious nature of their behavior. 

But don't worry, the NG will continue calling 18 and19 year old lawbreakers "teens" even if they are serial killers. 

It was decided long ago...

Paul Wood wrote on September 06, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Most of understand that the "teen" in nine-teen makes them teen-agers. You seem to have come up with an alternate definition that ignores how the word is pronounced.

Had the story called them children, you would have had a point.

Skepticity wrote on September 06, 2014 at 8:09 pm

You are correct that the "teen" in eighteen and nineteen makes them "teens" in standard usage.  So I guess that I am nitpicking because this is about alleged criminal behavior, and the situation should not be minimized by the media. 

Under criminal law they are adults.  Many murders are committed by young adults at this age.  I believe that using "teen" to designate young adults who have allegedly committed criminal acts, have been charged with criminal acts, have been convicted for criminal acts, and/or have been sentenced for adult criminal acts should not be referred to in the newspaper as "teens."  It infers youthful error, not the commission of a crime. 

I don't see news stories  that report that "teens stormed the beach at Normandy,"  or "teens in Viet Nam were under mortar attack." 

I don't expect that the News-Gazette will change the policy.  The choice of words in headlines and articles conveys more than reporting facts.  The fact that a criminal is eighteen or nineteen does not change the nature of the crime.  The use of "teen" predisposes the reader to giving the perpetrators a break.  After all, they were just "teens."

Periodically I choose to raise the issue of the usage of "teen" for young adults over 18 in circumstances related to criminal acts.  This is not my first comment on this, and it is unlikely to be the last.