Family details teen's drinking death

July 15, 2008 11:29:51 AM PDT
A Houston area teen's life was cut short because of hazing. Former University of Texas student Phanta 'Jack' Phoummarath died of alcohol poisoning nearly three years ago at a fraternity house. Now his family is releasing details of the settlement they reached with those involved the incident. That settlement amount is $4.2 million. Along with paying that money, dozens of individuals who were involved in this incident agreed to participate in an educational video and prevention efforts to help avoid future binge drinking deaths.

Jack Phoummarath's parents, sisters and lawyer, as well as a representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, recounted the 18-year-old's death. They said the night he celebrated his initiation into Lambda Phi Epsilon, he was made to drink a tremendous amount of alcohol.

After Phoummarath passed out on December 10, 2005, his fraternity brothers dragged him upstairs to a garage apartment. They put him in a bed, eventually drew on his face with permanent marker, and then left him. Eight hours later, according to the investigation, the teen was still alive. But eventually, Phoummarath stopped breathing, and by the time anyone discovered him, it was too late.

The family's investigation was able to gather photos from the night of Jack's death. They say after he died, there was an effort on the part of the fraternity to destroy a lot of that evidence, but some was recovered, due to Facebook accounts and other sources.

The family wants to prevent further deaths. They have produced a graphic video to warn university students of the dangers of binge drinking.

"This family is trying to stop the ever-increasing hazing episodes," said Randy Sorrels, the Phoummarath's family attorney.

It is important to note that the fraternity won't pay much into the settlement because the organization doesn't have any insurance.

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