by: Mark Becker Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Four fraternity members from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are facing charges of hazing in connection with a campout where pledges were allegedly forced to drink extreme amounts of alcohol, causing one of them to end up in intensive care at a local hospital.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office issued warrants Thursday charging the fraternity brothers with hazing, a misdemeanor, and will be allowed to turn themselves in to the Montgomery County Jail.
The charges stem from a campout in the Uwharrie Forest on Sept. 6 and 7 where an 18-year-old freshman from Waxhaw drank so much that other pledges could not wake him up and rushed him to the hospital where doctors calculated his blood alcohol was .42 -- more than five times the legal limit.
"His body went through an awful lot from the alcohol poisoning. His musculature was actually breaking down," said Michael Bednarik, an attorney who is representing the pledge and his family.
Bednarik would not second guess the detectives and prosecutors who signed off on the misdemeanor charge, but he suggested they could have been more serious.
"The family's very distressed about the entire situation and wants the most serious charges that can be legally brought," Bednarik said.
UNC Charlotte Police were notified of the charges on Thursday. The students are still enrolled at the school, which is conducting its own investigation of the students and the fraternity.
"We're going to expect them to be responsible for their actions and we will treat them accordingly," said Art Jackson, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC Charlotte.
Jackson said the school's investigation is expected to last several months and that it could lead to expulsion of the students and the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.