Two frat boys are accused of leaving a 19-year-old student unable to walk or talk after forcing him to down a bottle of Tito’s vodka.
Danny Santulli also had beer poured down his throat through a tube after being singled out as a target by fraternity brothers, his family allege.
He lost the colour in his skin and his lips turned blue after being left passed out on a couch during the initiation ceremony at Phi Gamma Delta.
The University of Missouri student’s heart momentarily stopped and Danny was eventually taken to hospital in one of the other pledge’s cars.
He suffered severe brain damage and has been left blind and unable to walk.
After spending months at a rehabilitation facility, his mum quit her banking job to look after him full time at home.
His family’s lawyer says it’s ‘unlikely’ that this ‘grim’ prognosis will change, and now his family are seeking justice.
Speaking to Good Morning America, Danny’s mother cried as she told how no one called 911 even as her son’s lips turned blue.
‘He’s still not talking or walking, he’s in a wheelchair. He lost his vision. But he hears us and he knows we’re there. We’ll just keep fighting – we’re not going to give up hope, she added.
Danny’s sister said: ‘It makes me sick to my stomach seeing the people involved that harmed Danny walking around campus acting like they did nothing wrong.’
In a lawsuit filed last week, Danny’s parents accuse Samuel Gandhi and Alec Wetzler of targeting their son last October.
The frat house was filled with ‘cocaine, marijuana and alcohol’ to ensure the pledges had a night they ‘wouldn’t forget’, lawyers said.
Surveillance footage obtained by Good Morning America shows Danny and other pledges being led shirtless and blindfolded down a staircase of the frat house.
Pledges had family-sized bottles of Tito’s vodka taped to their hands and were called ‘pussies’ if they stopped drinking, documents obtained by allege.
Danny was later seen falling backwards, passing out on a table and being left slumped on a couch.
His parents have settled a lawsuit with 22 defendants and the fraternity, who have been banned from campus for repeated violations.
Among those was frat boy Ryan Delanty, who was Danny’s designated ‘pledge dad’ for the night.
At 10.57pm on the hazing night, he allegedly texted a friend saying: My son is dead’. When asked what happened, he replied: ‘I left him.’
Danny’s parents are still suing Gandhi and Wetzler, who lawyers say were under caution for a previous hazing incident at the time.
Their lawsuit claims Danny was at their ‘beck and call’ for a month as part of his initiation process.
They say he was ordered to bring food, alcohol and cannabis to fraternity brothers at all hours of the night, clean their rooms on command.
Sleep-deprived Danny was also forced to buy things for them with his own money and was ordered to climb inside a bin filled with broken glass, the lawsuit says.
During the hazing, Weltzer chose Danny as a ‘target’ and forced him to drink beer through a tube before making him return to his bottle of Tito’s, lawyers claim.
When it was clear he was dangerously intoxicated, Ghandi initially tried to assist him but then walked away.
The lawsuit says that at 12.17am, he walked into the room and saw Santulli had not moved from where he let him.
Around 10 minutes later, Danny partly slid off the couch and was unable to move his arms and legs as his face hit the floor, lawyers say.
They claim someone passing through saw him and put him back on the couch and despite his lips going blue and his skin pale, ‘no one called 911’.
No one is facing criminal action over the incident, except for Wetzler, who has been charged with supplying alcohol to a minor.
The business administration student is no longer at the university, but Gandhi, who is studying architecture, is still enrolled.
Representing Danny’s family, David Bianchi says the parents want frat members to be charged under Missouri’s anti-hazing law.
‘This is the worst fraternity hazing case ever in the US in terms of injury. You can’t be any worse injured and still be alive,’ he added.
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