UPDATED 05/04/16 4:34 p.m.
STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Underage drinking is suspected in connection with the death of a freshman college student at Stony Brook University on Long Island.READ MORE: New Video Shows Suspected Gunman, Car Used To Flee Scene Of Deadly Bronx Double Shooting
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported exclusively Tuesday, the Queens teenager died this past weekend after apparent excessive drinking at an off-campus fraternity house.
Nicholas Holt, 18, was pronounced dead on Friday night after a five-day fight for his life. Suffolk County police said their investigation reveals excessive drinking, but as of Tuesday, no evidence of a crime.
Holt’s distraught father spoke on the phone with CBS2 Tuesday.
“He was the best son a father could have asked for,” Holt’s father said.
He asked how a healthy honor student ended up at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson last week, dropped there by fraternity brothers who didn’t stick around.
“It just shows some kind of guilt somewhere,” Holt’s father said.
Sources said it all came after a night of drinking at the Alpha Phi Delta fraternity, and that Holt — a pledge celebrating year’s end – had excessively high blood-alcohol levels.
But the biology major from St. Albans, Queens was not one to drink, according to his father.
“He doesn’t drink; not a drinker,” Holt’s father said. “He was only 18.”
The frat house is tucked in a residential neighborhood off campus, where neighbors have complained about under aged drinking and raucous parties.
“The community members are very concerned about drinking and driving; about the students that leave these homes drunk and stumble into the road,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn.READ MORE: Gov. Hochul: No Known Cases Of New COVID Variant 'Omicron' In New York
Hahn, who appeared Tuesday at a ceremony to honor police officers on the front lines of underage drinking, said the university has done much to educate students.
But still nationwide, 14 percent of teens admit to binge drinking, which can be deadly.
“Your brain hasn’t matured enough,” said Richard Mallow, New York state director of MADD. “When I grew up it was, you know, ‘Killing the brain cells.’ Well, you really are.”
“Kids need to understand they can die,” Hahn said. “It’s serious.”
The editor of the student-run Stony Brook Press said underage drinking is not unique to Stony Brook.
“It’s the expectation, and that’s the other thing about pledging and rushing, but that’s been a problem for every campus,” said Stony Brook Press editor Kyle Barr.
In a statement to community leaders, Stony Brook officials called Holt well-regarded by his peers, his professors and had many friends at the university. They deferred to Suffolk County police to investigate the death.
The fraternity released a statement Wednesday afternoon about Holt’s death, saying much of the information provided earlier about the incident was not correct.
“We wish to correct several inaccurate assertions that have been reported by others. Nicholas was a Brother of Alpha Phi Delta. He was not a pledge nor was he engaged in any type of pledging activity at the time of this unfortunate incident. The party in question took place at a private residence rented by several of Brothers at the Gamma Omicron chapter of our fraternity. The party was in no way authorized by, sanctioned by, supervised by, controlled by, or any in any way related to our Alpha Phi Delta National Organization,” the statement said.
The fraternity went on to say it does not allow or condone underage drinking.
“Alpha Phi Delta has a long-standing policy that forbids underage drinking, or the providing of alcohol to any underage individual, by any brother of our fraternity. While this incident is under investigation, Alpha Phi Delta’s Executive Committee has suspended the Stony Brook (Gamma Omicron) Chapter of Alpha Phi Delta,” the statement said. “Further action is pending the results of the local investigation.”MORE NEWS: CBS2 Weather Headlines: Cold, Gusty Saturday; Light Snow Showers Overnight
Holt’s family said funeral plans were incomplete.