TOLEDO, Ohio -- The parents of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge who died from alcohol poisoning after an alleged hazing ritual in March filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday against the fraternity and several of its members.
Stone Foltz, who was joining the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Bowling Green State University, and other 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, the complaint said. He died three days later.
Eight current or former members of the fraternity were indicted in April on charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to hazing.
Those named in the lawsuit include organizers of the alleged hazing ritual, the Bowling Green chapter and Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity.
A message seeking comment was left with the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity. It said in a statement in April that the actions of those individuals found responsible are unacceptable and do not align with its values.
The lawsuit said 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,” the lawsuit said. Following Foltz's death, the university permanently banned the fraternity.
University officials said they found that new members who attended the party were blindfolded and taken into a basement while being yelled at and pushed in an attempt to disorient them.
Before the event, fraternity leaders told the pledges to let their professors know they likely would not be in class the next day, the university found.
Foltz, a business major from Delaware, Ohio, was dropped off afterward at his apartment by members of the fraternity, including his “big brother” who was supposed to spend the night with Foltz and make sure he was OK, the lawsuit said.
“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 facedown on a couch and still breathing, but he soon stopped breathing and his face and ears turned purple and blue, the lawsuit said.
Foltz was taken to a hospital and put on life support. He died after his family arranged for his organs to be donated.