By Connor Beach
An 18-year-old graduate of Half Hollow Hills High School East died early Saturday morning in upstate Oneonta with a combination of drugs and alcohol found in his system.
The man, Daniel Michaels, of Dix Hills, was enrolled as a freshman at SUNY Oneonta.
Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner said a call came in just after midnight on Saturday reporting an unconscious man in need of medical assistance at an Academy Street home.
The man, later identified as Michaels, was brought to A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta in a private vehicle before police arrived at the home, Brenner said.
Michaels later went into cardiac arrest at the hospital and died, Brenner said.
Police immediately launched an investigation and a preliminary toxicology test showed Michaels tested positive for amphetamines, benzodiazepines and a small amount of alcohol, according to Brenner. However, results of the autopsy performed at Lourdes Hospital in upstate Binghamton were still pending as of Wednesday night.
Brenner said Michaels did not live at the Academy Street home, but added that it is the residence of members of an unrecognized fraternity.
There wasn’t a party at the Academy Street home during the night of Michaels’ death, Brenner said, but the unrecognized fraternity did host a social gathering at another location that night.
“Numerous interviews have been conducted, and we are continuing with the investigation at this time,” Brenner said, adding that the impact of the tragic incident has been felt throughout the local community.
It’s also been felt back home, where Michaels has been mourned.
Dix Hills resident Steven Gildin, who coached Michaels on a club baseball team for four years, described him as both hardworking and humble.
“Dan was a great person; it’s a big loss,” Gildin said. “He was one of the nicest kids you’ll come across — really reliable — and had the best attitude.”
A statement issued Tuesday by the Half Hollow Hills School District said, “We send our sincerest condolences to Daniel’s family and friends, and have prepared our staff to meet the needs of our students as they grieve.”
A GoFundMe campaign was launched Saturday and has raised over $22,000 toward a scholarship at SUNY Oneonta in Michaels’ name.
Information on funeral services for Michaels was not immediately available at deadline.