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Electric Daisy Carnival Overdose Takes Life of 15 Year-Old Girl

JOHN ROGERS   06/30/10 10:27 PM ET   AP

LOS ANGELES — The operator of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday imposed a temporary ban on raves at the historic venue after a 15-year-old girl died of a suspected drug overdose and scores of people were injured at a weekend party that drew a crowd of 185,000.

Barry Sanders, president of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, said he is ordering the venue's managers not to book any raves until the full commission takes up the issue at its July 16 meeting. At that time, he said he'll recommend that the full commission continue the moratorium.

The uproar over last weekend's 14th annual Electric Daisy Carnival has grown by the day as new details emerge about the mayhem and drug abuse that filled the Coliseum during the event, which featured carnival rides, light shows and appearances by techno star Moby and Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas.

Videos of the event show a generally peaceful crowd dancing to the music, but as evening falls the Coliseum's football field becomes tightly packed with revelers. At one point, as people leap over a fence to move from the seating area to the field, one of the performers launches into an expletive-filled tirade from the stage, demanding that the crowd violently push them back.

Sasha Rodriguez, 15, was one of an estimated 185,000 people attending the event when she collapsed. She died at a hospital Tuesday after being removed from life support, said Lt. Larry Dietz of the county coroner's office.

She was treated for drug intoxication, but doctors won't know the specific cause of her death until toxicology tests are completed.

The two-day festival was limited to people 16 and older, but Dr. Caitlin Reed of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she was there both days and never saw anyone checking IDs as people entered.

Local officials have also come under fire over the fact that the publicly owned stadium hosted an event in which drugs are consumed in large quantities. The Coliseum is jointly owned by the state, county and city.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on Wednesday called for a moratorium on the staging of future raves there, saying the public needs to be assured that "the health and safety of the promoter's patrons are protected" at future events.

"Clearly, there was a breakdown at the Electric Daisy Carnival which put the public at risk," he said.

Hours later, Sanders announced the moratorium.

In the meantime, the event's promoter, Insomniac Inc., said it was investigating.

"We are currently reviewing the entire event and planning process with our security team, law enforcement and the city officials who participated in organizing and planning Electric Daisy Carnival," Insomniac said in a statement issued Wednesday.

There were 226 requests for medical aid during the festival, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. Of those, 114 people were taken to hospitals, said Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Authorities said those needing aid included people who were intoxicated as well as those who were knocked down or trampled by the huge crowd.

Rodriguez was reportedly one of two rave attendees who arrived at the California Hospital Medical Center in critical condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Katreena Salgado did not return a call for comment Wednesday, and the other person's current condition was not immediately available.

Other raves have generated controversy in California in recent months over drug abuse.

One death and at least 18 drug overdoses tied to Ecstasy were reported at a New Year's Eve rave earlier this year at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, which is located next door to the Coliseum. That event attracted about 45,000 people.

In the San Francisco Bay area, two men died of suspected drug overdoses at a Memorial Day weekend rave at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

It wasn't immediately clear what effect the moratorium might have on the Love Festival, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is run by the same authority as the Coliseum. The festival, which bills itself as one of the longest running dance music events in North America, is a traveling event with stops also scheduled in Hawaii and Colorado this summer.

The Coliseum has a long history in Los Angeles, hosting two Olympic Games and serving as the home of the USC football team and the Raiders when they played in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Rams also played there before moving to new stadiums.

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Filed by Billy Silverman  |