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Teens die from drinking mixture of racing fuel and soda

Two Tennessee teenagers are dead and two more are in the hospital after allegedly consuming methanol-based racing fuel mixed with Mountain Dew. The Greenbriar High School students, Logan Stephenson and J.D. Byram, died in mid-January. WKRN reports that Stephenson, 16, was found unresponsive in his home the morning of January 21 and was pronounced dead at the scene by investigators. Byram was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville in critical condition, but died the evening of January 25.

Stephenson and Byram were part of a group of unidentified teenagers who gathered the evening of January 20. Friends of the two young men told police that the group was drinking a concoction called Dewshine, a deadly mix of racing fuel and Mountain Dew. Two other Greenbrier High students from the same gathering were rushed to the emergency room after they told investigators that they, too, had been drinking racing fuel. They were released after a thorough examination. Greenbrier police chief Kenneth Smith told WKRN that Stephenson and Byram possibly consumed a lethal dose of racing fuel, but that cannot be confirmed until after the teens' autopsies are completed.

Racing fuel is a high-octane specialty fuel used for auto racing, and can be purchased at many gas stations. Depending on the formula, racing fuel can contain up to 90 percent methanol, which is extremely poisonous in even the smallest doses. While it imparts a kind of euphoria similar to being drunk, its side effects include everything from nausea and vomiting to permanent blindness to coma, seizures, and death.

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