College

Penn State frat member: Pleas to call 911 for unconscious pledge went unheard

A Penn State fraternity member said Sunday that he repeatedly told other members to call 911 when he found Timothy Piazza unconscious on a couch, but no one did.

"So when I walked into the room and I saw Timothy lying on the couch, at first I'm thinking he probably had way too much to drink, he could possibly have alcohol poisoning," Beta Theta Pi brother Kordel Davis told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“Everybody was surrounding him, basically laughing pointing. Right away I started freaking out. Tim fell and he's just lying on the couch. If Tim fell, he does not need to be on the couch. He needs to go to the hospital, we need to call 911,” he added.

Davis said that his frat brothers told him he was overreacting and continued to dismiss his pleas for someone to call paramedics. Davis said he was concerned that Piazza may have had a concussion.

"I was told it was going to be handled their way," he said. "I was told that they had the situation under control and that my help was not needed and that my opinions were not relevant and not needed. I was told it was all a myth, I was overreacting and I was crazy. They thought calling for help was just unnecessary."

Davis said it seemed everyone was protecting themselves instead of trying to get help for Piazza.

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The 19-year-old Piazza suffered fatal injuries when he fell down a set of stairs during a fraternity pledge party at Beta Theta Pi in February. Prosecutors announced criminal charges against 18 Penn State students and the fraternity in Piazza’s death. Eight frat brothers and the frat are accused of involuntary manslaughter. The others face charges ranging from evidence tampering to furnishing alcohol to minors.

Jim Piazza said Friday his son’s death was a senseless and preventable tragedy.

“This is the result of a feeling of entitlement, flagrant disobedience of the law, and disregard for moral values that was then exacerbated by egregious acts of self-preservation,” he said at a press conference in Bellefonte to announce the charges.

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Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said pledges were forced to drink enormous amounts of alcohol during a drinking game called "running the gauntlet," WJAC-TV reported.

She said there was a video showing that Piazza’s condition worsened overnight, according to the station. The DA said during that time Piazza got up and fell four more times and fell down the stairs again.

“They waited over 40 minutes before they called for help,” Miller said, according to the station. “By then, it was too late.”

Penn State permanently banned Beta Theta Pi on March 30, accusing it of a "persistent pattern" of excessive drinking, drug use, and hazing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.