Police: WVU fraternity pledge drank more than 6 times the legal limit for driving before death

A West Virginia University fraternity pledge drank a lethal amount of alcohol shortly before he died during an initiation function last year, police said Tuesday.

Tests showed 18-year-old Nolan Michael Burch's blood alcohol level was 0.493 — more than six times the legal limit of 0.08 for driving, Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said in a written statement. A report from the medical examiner is still pending.

Burch was among 20 pledges who received a bottle of liquor from a senior member or alumnus of the fraternity Kappa Sigma for the initiation on Nov. 12, 2014, Preston said.

Officers were called to the fraternity house for a medical emergency and found someone performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation on Burch. The suburban Buffalo, New York, resident later died at a Morgantown hospital. A report from the medical examiner is still pending.

In a joint statement, WVU and leaders of organizations representing fraternities and sororities on campus said Burch's death and the circumstances leading it "remain a sad and tragic situation."

Preston said prosecutors are reviewing the investigation's findings.

A moratorium was placed on Greek activities Nov. 13. While some events such as chapter meetings and philanthropic activities are allowed, the ban remains in place for social activities with the exception of pre-approved, alcohol-free events.