The family of a Missouri college student left blind and with “massive brain damage” after an alcohol-fueled hazing incident at school is warning other parents to be more vigilant in the wake of their own devastating “reality check.”
Daniel “Danny” Santulli, 19, was allegedly forced to drink an entire bottle of vodka while pledging to become a member of the Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Missouri in October 2021, according to The Associated Press. A lawsuit describes how Santulli was discovered outside Columbia, Missouri’s University Hospital in a car suffering from cardiac arrest, the report states.
He was reportedly found to have had a blood-alcohol content of 0.486% – over six times the 0.08 legal driving limit, the Columbia Missourian reported.
His father, Tom Santulli, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that Danny returned from a Colorado rehabilitation facility to his home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota on May 25, but dealing with Danny’s injuries has “been really hard.”
“He has a long road,” Santulli said when reached by phone. “We just hope that he somehow gets better.”
Tom Santulli’s wife has since left her job working at a bank to fully devote her time to caring for their son, he said.
“It is too much to work full-time and care for him,” Santulli continued.
Santulli recalled receiving the call from the hospital eight months ago and “freaking out.”
“[We] thought it was all a dream,” he said. “Couldn’t believe it was happening. We drove down to Missouri. It was the longest seven and a half hours of my life.”
Now, as Daniel’s parents worked to receive some semblance of justice for their son, Tom Santulli said he and his family “are all hanging in there.”
“It is a reality check for everyone,” he said. “This has made his brother and sister stronger in terms of family values and gaining a better insight into life.”
He said his message to other parents is to “be careful” and “do your research.”
“And look into the fraternity,” he continued. “Look to see if they’ve been on probation.”
Santulli added that parents should both teach their kids about drinking alcohol and also about fraternities.
“Tell your kid, don’t ever let another kill tell you, you have to drink.”
David Bianchi, the attorney representing the Santulli family, has sued and settled with nearly 23 people, including the fraternity, and has plans to file complaints against at least two more people, he told Fox News Digital.
Bianchi described how his client is suffering from “permanent damage” and faces a future of “just constant care.”
“He is doing terribly,” Bianchi said. “He has massive brain damage. He’s blind – he’s lost all his eyesight. Can’t walk or communicate at all … No recovery from this.”
The University of Missouri reportedly suspended fraternity activities in the wake of Santulli’s hospitalized.
According to the AP, the university has so far proposed disciplinary action against 13 students as its investigation into the events continues.