Dangers of Drinking: University of Colorado Graduate Shot After Trespassing

Zoey Ripple, a recent University of Colorado graduate has been in headlines recently after she was shot in the hip by the owners of a multi-million dollar home she broke into while drunk last May.

Ripple’s sentencing was held last week where she pleaded guilty to first degree criminal trespassing. Ripple got into the house through an open screen door at around 3:30 am on May 23rd. After homeowners Doreen Orion and Timothy Justice screamed at Ripple to leave, they fired a shot into her hip when she ignored them and continued to walk into the room.

Ripple’s attorney Colette Cribari told the judge last week that she may have been under the influence of a date rape drug like rohypnol because she had no recollection of the event or even how she got to the house. Rohypnol is considered a date rape drug because of high potency and its ability to cause strong amnesia once ingested. While Ripple wasn’t tested that night for drugs, she was for alcohol which was 3 times the legal limit according to authorities.

Taking this into consideration, the judge deferred Ripple’s sentence and her entire charge could be dropped if she abstains from alcohol and out of trouble for the duration of her 18 month probation. According to Boulder County District Attorney, there are about 12 to 15 cases each year of college students under the influence of alcohol wandering into someone’s home, but not all have a bullet wound as a constant reminder of their drunken mishaps.

Reflecting on the incident in court last week, Ripple said, “Really scary things can happen and it’s important to keep your bearings about you.” She also asserted that she has abstained from alcohol since the incident and plans to move to Peru after probation. “I need to continue to remind myself that this doesn’t define me. I know who I am,” she said.

It is true that “we are not our behaviors” when we drink. In other words, what we do while drunk is often not who we are authentically. But the behaviors that come out, like Ripple’s break-in, are examples of why over consumption of alcohol can be so dangerous. The number of deadly accidents that occur each year because of alcohol consumption are astronomical. Sometimes that extra drink someone takes while already tipsy or drunk is enough to push them into a blackout or dangerous situation. While many have setbacks, like Ripple, some can have more dire, lifelong and life-threatening consequences.  

This is especially true of the untreated alcoholic. While Ripple has abstained from alcohol because of the incident, some are unable to abstain and continue to drink despite negative consequences. If you or a loved one has suffered negative consequences from drinking and yet continue to drink, the affordable Colorado addiction treatment and alcoholism treatment programs at Harmony Foundation in Colorado can help.