Man Sues Four Loko for His Loco Stunt

By Chrisanne Grise 10/02/12

An Ohio resident claims the "dangerous" beverage caused him to run out into traffic, where he was hit by a car.

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Four Loko, that vibrantly colored canned cocktail that simultaneously intoxicates and energizes, is once again under legal fire. The Chicago-based makers of the drink, Phusions Projects, are being sued by an Ohio resident who blames the “dangerous” alcoholic beverage for his accident two years ago. Richard “Tommy” Whaley, 28, had consumed nearly three 23.5-ounce cans of Four Loko when he ran out onto the road, where he was hit by a car. Witnesses say he was launched nearly 10 feet into the air, and his shoe was found on top of a building 100 feet away. At the hospital, his blood-alcohol level was 0.198%, way above the legal limit of 0.08% in Ohio. “The amount of alcohol he consumed should have caused him to lose consciousness,” says the lawsuit. “However, due to Four Loko’s high caffeine amount...he remained awake and in an agitated and irrational state.” Whaley, who has a record of DUI and drunken disorderly conduct, claims that a limp resulting from the accident will prevent him from returning to his former landscaping job. This is not the first time the contentious combo of booze and energy has been blamed for accidents, and Phusions is currently facing a similar suit in Illinois over the death of a 15-year-old boy. While the company cannot officially comment on the pending cases, they did release a statement: “Of course, it is important to remember that just because a lawsuit is filed doesn’t mean the allegations in it have merit.”

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices,,, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.