2 students face possible prison time

After leaving a party the two held in March, a student fell to his death.

Andy Steinke

>Two University students are facing possible prison time after a student who attended a party at their house in April died when he fell off of a University parking ramp.

University students Michael McCullough, 21, and Brandon Overlie, 21, are scheduled for a first appearance in Hennepin County District Court next Thursday, according to court documents, on charges of “furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor resulting in a death.”

The maximum sentence for the felony charges is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, Minnesota law stipulates.

Kyle Sharbonno, a first-year student last spring, attended a party hosted by McCullough on the night of March 31 and fell off the Oak Street parking ramp early April 1, resulting in his death, according to the Hennepin County criminal complaint documents.

McCullough, who was 20 years old at the time, told police that his housemate, Overlie, purchased several kegs of beer for the party and brought them to the house.

The alcohol was for a beer pong tournament that Sharbonno participated in.

Sharbonno left the party with others between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. and was on his way to a nearby Burger King, a witness told police.

Shortly after, Sharbonno left the group and went into the Oak Street parking ramp at approximately 1:35 a.m. He was then spotted by security surveillance cameras, University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson said in an April 3 Daily article.

While University Police Officer Steven Kuhnau was searching the parking ramp for Sharbonno, dispatch received a 911 call saying someone had fallen from the third level of the ramp, according to the police report.

A witness of the fall told the Daily in April that she saw Sharbonno climb over to sit on the ledge. She said he fell about 10 seconds later and she called 911.

Sharbonno was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center where he later died of brain injuries caused by the fall, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office said.

Medical tests conducted at 2:12 a.m. and detailed in court documents showed Sharbonno’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.31 percent, almost four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent in Minnesota.

After six months of investigation by University police, McCullough and Overlie were charged with supplying a minor with alcohol on Sept. 4.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart said the students’ situation will be reviewed pending the trial.

“I think the biggest concern we have for our students is the decisions they make around alcohol,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that they find themselves in this position now because of their decisions.”

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said McCullough and Overlie were cooperative with police and remorseful over what happened to Sharbonno.

“Something like this occasionally comes up that demonstrates really abusive drinking habits can lead to accidents,” he said. “A death like this can have life-changing effects.”