Left At Hospital With Note: Should Friends Of Drunk Arizona College Student Be Charged?

By Philip Ross on May 15, 2013 12:22 PM EDT

left at hospital with note
Left at a hospital with a note attached to him, a drunk Arizona college student, whose blood alcohol level was five times the legal limit, could face criminal charges for underage drinking. (Photo: Flickr/nedrichards)

A drunk college student in Tempe, Ariz., was left at a hospital with a note stuck to him earlier this week. His friends dropped him off there after he drank way too much at a college drinking contest, passed out, and started to turn blue, Examiner reports.

"I've been drinking and I need some help," the Post-it note stuck to the student read.

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According to KPHO, hospital staff at St. Luke's Hospital discovered the 19-year-old Arizona State University student in a wheelchair in the emergency room lobby between 1 and 2 a.m. When they tested his blood, they found he had a blood-alcohol level five times the legal limit.

Police report that the student left at the hospital with a note had taken roughly 20 shots of tequila during a drinking competition earlier that night. His blood alcohol content was .47 percent. He belonged to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The investigation is ongoing, CBS News reports, and the friends who left the student at the hospital with a note attached to him could receive criminal charges. The drunk student could also be charged for consuming alcohol as a minor.

Should the friends of the student left at the hospital with a note be charged? Investigators will have to weigh the law against the friends' possibly life-saving decision to take the drunk student to a hospital. Should the fraternity brothers be charged, it could deter students from taking someone to the hospital in the future for fear of repercussion.

Last November, the same Arizona State University fraternity was thrust into the spotlight after one of its members, 19-year-old Jack Culolias, drowned in the Salt River in Tempe. He was at a fraternity party at a bar when he was kicked out for public urination.

Following the drowning incident, Arizona State University leaders responded with a statement:

In recent months there have been several unrelated, off-campus incidents involving ASU students and alcohol abuse. ASU takes all such incidents very seriously and takes disciplinary action in these incidents, where appropriate. When the incidents happen off campus, as these have, the ASU Police Department and the Dean of Students Office work collaboratively with City of Tempe officials and the Tempe Police Department to respond. Tempe Police are in charge of this investigation.

These handful of recent incidents are not indicative of the more than 73,000 ASU students who work and study diligently, and stay out of trouble. The university has zero tolerance for actions that put students at risk or are in violation of state and federal law.

All states have lowered their legal blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, level for driving to .08 percent. But, according to the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, even at alcohol levels of .04 percent, many individuals experience some impairment of judgment.

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, an independent government agency that investigates all civil airplane accidents and many highway and marine accidents, called on all 50 states to lower their legal BAC limits for driving from .08 to .05 percent. Desert News reports that the NTSB cites fatalities and injuries as reasons for their decision to push for lowering the legal BAC limits for driving.

"We know that our fatality numbers will come down if we take aggressive measures," NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said.

Others demur, arguing that the recommendation would penalize people for having just one or two drinks before driving.

"This recommendation is ludicrous. Moving from 0.08 to 0.05 would criminalize perfectly responsible behavior," Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, said in a news release.

Read more from iScience Times:

Lower Drunk Driving Limit: What Does NTSB Want To Change It To?

7 Felony DUIs; Jean Ervin Soriano Killed Five During Drunken Prison Break

Drum And Bass DUI: Aaron Cogley Drove Like A Drunk While Jamming Out Stone-Cold Sober

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