West Virginia Frat Pledge Nolan Burch Had 0.493 Blood-Alcohol Level

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A West Virginia University student who died after being found unconscious in a fraternity house had a blood-alcohol level more than six times the legal limit for driving, authorities said Tuesday.

Nolan Burch, 18, wasn't breathing when officers responded to a call at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house on November 12, 2014. Burch, a fraternity pledge from Williamsville, New York, died the next day in hospital.

Medical tests have now showed that the freshman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.493, according to Morgantown Police.

The teen consumed "a large quantity of alcohol" while participating in a fraternity event earlier in the evening, police said. Burch and 19 other pledges were blindfolded and taken to a location, about a quarter of a mile from the fraternity house, where they were presented with a bottle of liquor.

After becoming very intoxicated Burch was taken back to the Kappa Sigma house and laid on a table, police said. The police were called after a fraternity member noticed that Burch's face had turned blue and he did not have a pulse.

Less than a day after Burch was hospitalized West Virginia University officials and suspended all Greek life activities on campus. The university announced that the ban is still in place in a joint statement released Tuesday.

"Alcohol abuse is an issue with which universities nationwide are grappling," the statement read. "West Virginia University remains committed to transforming the culture on its campus."

The Medical Examiner's report has yet to be released and Monongalia County prosecutors are reviewing the police investigation. Prosecutors will make a determination on criminal charges once the review is complete.


- Shamar Walters