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Parents Of Frat Pledge Claim He Was Left With Severe Brain Injury After Being Forced To Drink Vodka During Hazing

Photo: Sean Pavone / Facebook
Daniel Santulli

The parents of a college student are suing a fraternity at the University of Missouri alleging their son suffered from a brain injury after being forced to drink a significant amount of vodka during a hazing incident.

Daniel Santulli, 19, who was originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, had been found in cardiac arrest inside a car at University Hospital on October 20, 2021, according to the lawsuit.

Santulli's blood alcohol content was at 0.486%, which is more than six times the legal limit for driving.

The lawsuit states that Santulli along with the rest of his pledge class at Phi Gamma Delta were all forced to drink a bottle of hard liquor that had been given to them by their "pledge fathers."

Daniel Santulli was left with a brain injury after the Missouri frat hazing.

Santulli remains "unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and [has] a significant injury to his brain."

The family's attorney, David Bianchi, who specializes in hazing litigation, said by around midnight, Santulli was passed out on the couch and severely intoxicated, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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By the time someone had tried to help Santulli, the 19-year-old college student had stopped breathing.

"No one called 911," Bianchi said in a press release, according to the Daily Tribune. Instead, two fraternity members drove Santulli to the university's hospital.

By the time Santulli had arrived at the hospital, his lips were blue and he was in cardiac arrest.

Hospital staff were able to resuscitate him, and placed him on a ventilator.

Santulli is still unresponsive and cannot communicate due to permanent brain damange, according to Bianchi.

Santulli's parents are seeking damages and alleges negligence by the Phi Gamma Delta organization along with specific members of the University of Missouri chapter.

The national fraternity and university both suspended the Missouri chapter following Santulli's hospitalization.

Ron Caudill, the fraternity’s national executive director, said in a statement to AP News that the fraternity is reviewing the lawsuit.

“We expect all chapters and members to follow the law and abide by the fraternity’s policies, which prohibit hazing and the provision of alcohol to minors,” Caudill said.

RELATED: WSU Students Accused Of Making Pledge Drink Half-Gallon Of Liquor Before His Death Sentenced To 1 Day In Jail

Bianchi insists that Santulli's injuries were not an isolated incident, telling AP that these unsafe and dangerous incidents happen quite frequently.

“These are part of a pattern of unsafe and dangerous behavior that represents the traditions of the fraternity,” Bianchi said.

This isn't the first time Santulli has been hospitalized for an incident related to the pledge process at the University of Missouri.

According to The Missourian, Santulli was ordered to climb into a trashcan with glass shards in an incident that led to him cutting his foot and needing stitches and crutches.

In the lawsuit, Santulli reportedly broke down and cried to his sister two days before the alcohol incident.

"He said he was exhausted, he could not take it anymore," the lawsuit stated. His parents told him to leave the fraternity, but Santulli said if he didn't want to be humiliated.

Phi Delta Gamma, also known as Fiji, has had six documented violations of alcohol distrbution policies and two hazing violations in Missouri since 2017, according to university records.

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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