Hypothermia, Alcohol Implicated in University of Illinois Student’s Accidental Death


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URBANA, Illinois – The University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD) has concluded its investigation into the Jan. 20 death of 18-year-old student Akul Dhawan, ruling the incident as accidental. Dhawan was discovered deceased on West Nevada Street in Urbana due to hypothermia, exacerbated by acute alcohol intoxication, after becoming separated from friends in severe cold conditions.

The comprehensive investigation by UIPD involved interviews, security footage, and data analysis, leading to the identification of lapses in alcohol sale regulations. A local store employee was charged for illegally selling alcohol to Dhawan, a minor. In response, the involved store faces penalties including a fine and a temporary suspension.

Furthermore, an internal affairs investigation at UIPD has resulted in disciplinary action against an officer for procedural breaches during the initial response to Dhawan’s disappearance. UIPD Chief Matt Ballinger emphasized the importance of adherence to policy to ensure campus safety, acknowledging the profound impact of the tragedy on the community.


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