Charmayne Maxwell, or "Maxie" was a successful singer, both as a member of R&B group Brownstone, and as a solo artist, her voice heard on hits such as "If You Love Me," and "When I Look Into Your Eyes." On February 28, 2015, she was found dead in her home, apparently killed by a fall, at the age of 46.
While a lot of the details remain unknown, it appears her death was accidental. Her brother Brandon Maxwell tweeted that "My sister died in the most terrible way...I'm in so much pain right now," echoing the thoughts of many fans shocked and saddened by her death.
What we know
According to a TMZ report from March 2, 2015, Charmayne was drinking wine at home when she slipped and fell backwards while walking between her house and the back patio. Her glass slipped, shattering on the ground, and shards of glass punctured her neck and knocking her unconscious. While an autopsy and toxicity report has yet to be performed, it is possible she was intoxicated when she fell.
Her husband, music producer Carsten Schack found her at 9 p.m., and called an ambulance, but she had lost too much blood by that point. More information is expected in upcoming days, but for now we can only be saddened by a life tragically cut way too short, possibly by an alcohol-related cause.
Alcohol and accidents
The exact details of Charmayne's death may still be slightly unknown, but it is undeniable that heavy alcohol use often causes many life-threatening accidents. Many people are aware that driving drunk is extremely dangerous, but consuming alcohol at high levels makes you vulnerable to other kinds of accidents as well.
According to DrinkAware, an alcohol abuse awareness group based in the UK, 40 percent of people admitted to a Accident and Emergency department of a hospital have injuries or illness that were caused by alcohol. The group further reports that, each year, alcohol is responsible for around 400 deaths caused by domestic accidents that might have been prevented without alcohol, making alcohol by far the biggest cause of accidents in the home.
The reason alcohol can be so dangerous is it acts as a depressant, slowing down the brain's ability to respond to danger. Alcohol can limit and slow down the body's ability to react quickly, upset a sense of balance and coordination, decrease the ability to concentrate, and impair vision and hearing.
At the same time, alcohol also decreased inhibitions and your ability to carefully think through the potential consequences of an action, thus increasing dramatically the possibility you will engage in risky behavior. These two factors can combine to make it more likely you will have an accident.
The National Institute of Health recommends that people stay within boundaries of low-risk drinking, which they define as no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week for women, and no more than 4 drinks a day for men. Even within these limits it is suggested that you drink slowly and carefully, and realize your blood alcohol level can be affected by other factors such as age, weight, and the amount of food you've consumed.
Furthermore, you may still be affected by your drinking even after the "drunk" feeling has left. A 1990 study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that two thirds of pilots were unable to perform well in a flight simulator, up to 14 hours after the alcohol had left their system.
Thus, if you need to drive, operating heavy machinery, or commit any other action requiring careful concentration and coordination, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. Mindful and deliberate attention to how alcohol is effecting your perception can be a very helpful tool in avoiding dangerous situations.