Family of freshman left permanently blind and unable to speak or walk speak out on dangers of hazing

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Daniel Santulli was left blind and unable to speak after the hazing incident in October 2021

The family of a college freshman who was almost killed in a hazing incident spoke out about the dangers of the practice.

Daniel Santulli was only 19 years old when he was found inside a car in cardiac arrest and with alcohol poisoning at University Hospital in October 2021.

Daniel survived the ordeal but was left blinded and unable to walk or speak as a result.

The incident was a result of ‘hazing’.

This is an unofficial initiation ceremony for college fraternities and sororities which often consists of degrading, humiliating, and unsafe practices.

‘Hazing’ also frequently includes consuming dangerous quantities of alcohol.

Fifteen states in the US have made hazing a potential felony offence, but the practice still persists on many college campuses.

Daniel had been participating in a hazing at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity when he became seriously ill from alcohol poisoning after being pressured to consume an entire bottle of vodka.

Now, his family have spoken out about dangerous hazing can be.

Daniel's family spoke out about his ordeal. (ABC)

Daniel’s family spoke out about his ordeal. (ABC)

Daniel’s mom Mary Pat Santulli told ABC: “Danny was always a good kid. He was happy. He was.”

His brother Nick recalled seeing Daniel in the hospital, saying: “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.”

Surveillance footage was taken inside the fraternity house, with video taken shortly after 9pm on October 19 2021 showing several ‘pledges’ being taken downstairs blindfolded.

The family’s attorney David Bianchi reviewed the events shown in the CCTV footage.

He told Good Morning America: “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.”

Daniel was left blind and unable to walk. (GMA)

Daniel was left blind and unable to walk. (GMA)

Bianchi added: “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 drink and drink.”

His mom said: “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.”

She told ABC: “Just the fact that 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 6-year-old calls 911.”

When asked if he believes Daniel was hazed, his father said “oh 100 percent”.

On May 10 2024 a former member of the fraternity pleaded guilty to misdemeanour on charges relating to Daniel’s injuries.

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