Wyoming college student plunges to death from Denver hotel balcony after eating marijuana cookie

DENVER - Four foreign college students came to Denver on spring break to try marijuana with tragic results, authorities said.

Levy Thamba Pongi, 19, a student at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, ate a marijuana cookie and then plunged 33 feet from a hotel balcony to his death last month, the Denver medical examiner said.

Pongi died from multiple injuries from the March 11 fall from the balcony at the Holiday Inn Denver East, located at 3333 Quebec St., the medical examiner said.

The medical examiner listed marijuana intoxication as a "significant condition" contributing to his death.

Pongi was a student from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the three friends who tried marijuana with him at the hotel were all Northwest College students from foreign countries, said Michelle Weiss-Samaras, Director of Operations for the medical examiner.

"They come here for spring break to try marijuana. They were young kids," Weiss-Samaras told 7NEWS. A girl in Pongi's group became ill after trying marijuana.

Investigators believe Pongi was trying a youthful experiment that went tragically wrong.

"I don't think he knew what he was doing. From what our investigators learned, he obviously had an adverse reaction it. It's just really sad," Weiss-Samaras said.

Autopsy tests show Pongi's marijuana intoxication level was 7.2 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is the drug's active ingredient. Under a Colorado law that took effect in 2013, the threshold for a driving under the influence of marijuana violation is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter.
 

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