Fraternity pledge is forced to drink entire bottle of liquor and dies of alcohol poisoning. Family sues.
Stone Foltz, 20, from Delaware, Ohio, who was joining the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Bowling Green State University, died from alcohol poisoning after an alleged hazing ritual in March. His parents have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the fraternity and several of its members.
Eight current or former members were indicted in April on charges either related to involuntary manslaughter or hazing. The most serious manslaughter charge carries a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison, while others include multiple misdemeanor counts of hazing and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws. Those named in the suit include organizers of the alleged hazing, the Bowling Green chapter and Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity.
Paul A. Dobson, the Wood County prosecuting attorney, said, “The multiple counts of hazing and failure to comply with underage alcohol laws reflect the allegation that those defendants participated in providing copious amounts of alcohol to Mr. Foltz and the other new members” of the university’s Pi Kappa Alpha chapter.”
“The pledges were blindfolded, taken into a basement and forced to drink to an entire bottle of alcohol – equivalent to about 40 shots,” according to the lawsuit. “Foltz finished the bottle in as little as 18 minutes, and members of the fraternity took him to his apartment, where a roommate found him unconscious. He died three days later.” Foltz had a blood alcohol content of .35 when he has found.
It continued, “the fraternity and its chapters nationwide “have for decades had incidents of hazing and misconduct resulting in disciplinary actions by universities, civil suits and serious injuries. The national organization placed the Bowling Green chapter on probation for the spring semester in 2020, but they simply picked up where they left off after probation ended.”
In a follow-up probe, the university found that fraternity leaders told the pledges to let their professors know they likely would not be in class the next day. Foltz was dropped off after the ritual and his big brother” was supposed to spend the night with him. “Instead, Stone Foltz was taken from the car into his apartment and left alone on the couch to die,” the complaint said. “His roommate came home and found him face down on a couch and still breathing, but he soon stopped breathing and his face and ears turned purple and blue.”
The national fraternity said it was “heartbroken” and extended “sympathy to all of those affected by this senseless tragedy. University spokesperson Alex Solis said, “This is permanent loss of recognition — the fraternity will never again be recognized at BGSU in the future. This expulsion is because of hazing, which is absolutely intolerable. The University’s investigation found the fraternity to be reckless with a disregard for the health and safety of our community. “This investigation also revealed a deep culture of deception rooted in the organization, filled with dishonesty and disrespect for our community.”