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For FSU fraternity, A Wild Night Turned Tragic

The night of initiation was the most that the brothers of Florida State University’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter said they had ever seen their pledge class drink.

That was the plan, court records said: Pledges would arrive at the fraternity house Nov. 2 and hail rides to an off-campus house. There, the “big brothers” would reveal themselves to their underage pledges and present them with a token of acceptance: their “family bottle” — a liquor bottle their new “little” was expected to polish off that night.

For pledge Andrew Coffey, his 20-year-old “big” would use someone else’s ID to buy a 750ml bottle of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon — their family bottle. Coffey finished it.

The night of brotherhood proved fatal. Coffey, 20, of Pompano Beach was found unresponsive the following morning. He died of alcohol poisoning, the Leon County Medical Examiner’s office determined. Coffey’s autopsy found that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.447. That is nearly six times the level at which state law presumes a driver is impaired, which is 0.08.