The family of a Penn State student who died in an apparent fraternity hazing incident opened up about the 19-year-old’s final moments as they condemned fraternity members for treating the teen like “roadkill.”
In emotional interviews that aired Monday, the parents and brother of Timothy Piazza blasted Beta Theta Pi fraternity members for a February pledge event that left the sophomore engineering student dead from a traumatic brain injury. Piazza fell down stairs more than once after participating in an intense drinking game, according to the Associated Press.
“It was horrific,” the New Jersey teen’s father Jim Piazza told NBC’s Today. “This wasn’t boys being boys. This was men who intended to force-feed lethal amounts of alcohol into other young men. And what happened throughout the night was just careless disregard for human life. They basically treated our son as roadkill and a rag doll.”
Prosecutors said 18 fraternity members face charges that include involuntary manslaughter after they failed to call for help, the AP reports. The school announced in March that it has permanently banned Beta Theta Pi from its campus.
“To know that he was lying at the bottom of the basement steps for any length of time all by himself — it all is terrible,” the teen’s mother Evelyn Piazza told CBS News.
Jim Piazza told Today that he saw a tear in his son’s eye as loved ones gathered around him at his hospital bed. “We talked to him a little bit. We held his hand,” the teen’s father recalled. “A tear came to his eye, and I said to the doctor, ‘Can he hear us?’ And the doctor said, ‘Maybe.’ … But frankly, I don’t know if I want to know if he heard us or not, because if he heard us, then he knew he was going to die.”