Northwest College Student Death Reaction - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Northwest College Student Death Reaction

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POWELL, WYOMING -

Northwest College students and faculty in Powell are recovering from the shock of the strange death of an African student. Levy Thamba died in a fall from a Denver hotel balcony, after he ate a marijuana cookie.

Levy Thamba was from the Congo in Africa. He just arrived as a new student at Northwest College in Powell in late January.

Northwest College Intercultural Programs Manager Emelee Volden explained, "When he arrived, he had no problem adjusting, and settling right in."

Another student who lived in his dorm said, Cole Wright said, "He was a little quiet, but when you got to talking to him, he was a great guy."

Students and faculty were shocked to hear that during spring break, Thamba died from a fall from a fourth floor balcony at this Denver hotel. The autopsy report said he became hostile after eating some marijuana cookies..and jumped off the balcony.

Volden said Thamba was a good student who caught up on his studies, even though he arrived on campus late.

She said, "He made friends very quickly. We have a large multicultural club. And he was very active in that right from the beginning."

Jennifer Valkenburg saw him at an international Bible Study class. She is a staff member of the college ministry. She said, "He just seemed like a very kind young man. When I would see him on campus he would wave and smile."

No one we talked to described Thamba as suicidal or even disturbed. The autopsy report indicated the level of marijuana in his system contributed to his erratic behavior.

The Clinical Manager of Cedar Mountain Center, Fred Snelson said,"It's the first case like this I've ever heard of."

The drug treatment center is in Cody. Snelson said any intoxicant can have unexpected consquences. He said, professionals have known for decades that, "High doses of marijuana can cause psychotic reactions."

A memorial service was held at Northwest College to help students and faculty. But, they are still coping with the shock.

Wright reacted, "It's troubling and tragic."

Volden said some students have had counseling. She said, "Its been pretty hard."

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