By Will Reeve
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The family of a University of Missouri student who suffered a devastating brain injury after allegedly being pressured to drink a bottle of vodka during a fraternity pledge party spoke to ABC News as we get a first look at surveillance video from that tragic night.
A plea from a family desperate to make sure no one else experiences their pain after their son and brother Danny Santulli nearly died while pledging a fraternity at the University of Missouri
"I saw Danny in the medical ICU at the hospital at Mizzou. And it's just, it's just a bunch of tubes everywhere. And that's an image that will probably never leave my head," says Nick Santulli.
Now, for the first time, the public sees surveillance footage from inside the phi gamma delta fraternity house on the night of October 19th? Shortly after 9 p.m., pledges can be seen blindfolded and led downstairs for a ritual known as "Pledge dad reveal night."
According to the family's civil lawsuit that was recently settled against 23 defendants. Danny, an 18-year-old freshman was pressured to drink an entire bottle of vodka.
"They were given their family bottle of alcohol and then they drank from it and they took them upstairs and for the next two hours, they drank and drank and drank. We see one of the fraternity members, putting a tube in Danny's mouth, with a funnel at the other end. And pouring beer down his throat while Danny is in the middle of consuming an entire bottle of vodka that's on the video," said David Bianchi, the family's attorney.
Just before 11 p.m., Danny can be seen losing his balance and falling backward. Other fraternity members carry him out of the room, pick him up and drop him onto a sofa
Around 12:30 a.m. Danny, alone on the sofa begins to slip onto the floor as the minutes tick by he struggles to move, then lies still after 15 minutes another fraternity member finds him on the floor, unresponsive then lifts Danny back onto the sofa other brothers come into the room one picks Danny up and carries him toward the door, dropping him on the floor.
Then - outside - where fraternity members carry Danny to a car and drive him to the University of Missouri Hospital.
"Just the fact that -- nobody, they knew he was in distress and his lips were blue, and nobody called 911. It's, like, I don't know. I mean a six-year-old calls 911," says Mary Pat Santulli.
When Danny arrived at the hospital he was in cardiac arrest and not breathing his blood alcohol level was a near-lethal .486.
After six weeks in the ICU, Danny was moved to a rehab hospital in Colorado. Now, more than 7 months later, he's back home in Minnesota with his family where he will need continuous care.
"He'll need care for life. 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 and we'll just keep fighting, and we're not gonna give up hope," says Mary Pat Santulli.
The University of Missouri has since revoked the fraternity's charter and proposed sanctions against thirteen of its members. Prosecutors have charged one fraternity member with two misdemeanors for supplying alcohol to a minor but the family says that is not enough.
"Missouri has what I would call a rather typical hazing statute. And the conduct that occurred that night at pledge dad reveal night is textbook hazing," says Bianchi.
The prosecutor's office says their investigation is ongoing and "If appropriate, will file additional charges."