The death of Cal Poly freshman Carson Starkey has been determined to be the result of alcohol poisoning. Police have further confirmed that his death was the result of the crime of hazing and that the party was an initiation event for the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which Starkey was pledging.
Starkey’s recently released autopsy reveals that his death was the result of respiratory arrest due to Acute Ethanol Toxicity, or alcohol poisoning. Starkey’s blood alcohol level ranged between .39 and .44 percent – a level exceeding the effects of surgical anesthesia. At .4 percent and up, there can be onset of coma and possible respiratory arrest, according to www.brad21.org. No marijuana or other drugs were found in Starkey’s system.
Starkey,18, passed away the morning of Dec. 2, 2008 at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. At 6:24 that morning, a 911 call was received from a house on Highland Drive where Starkey was subsequently found unresponsive.
Investigators have since performed numerous interviews and conducted search warrants on nine separate locations and concluded that his death was the result of hazing.
Following Starkey’s death last quarter, SAE’s charter was suspended from all activity until further notice, first by the university and later by the fraternity’s national organization.
SAE’s risk management contract includes sections on alcohol, drugs, sober rides and sexual assault. It states that “any and all pledge and/or new member activities will be dry” and “no member will force any other member to drink.” It also prohibits underage drinking, requires the fraternity to have “at least two sober brothers” at every event and every member will be a “true gentleman” around women at all times.
In addition to the death of Starkey, SAE has had several incidences in which they had to attend meetings with Student Life and Leadership including alcohol violations, destruction of property and the alleged drugging of a sorority member.
The investigation is continuing and police are not releasing further information at this time.
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