Report: Fraternity pledge carried to 'drunk room' before dying

{A href=""}BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Former Garces Memorial High School student Philip Dhanens drank heavily during a ceremony for new fraternity pledges, passed out and was then taken to the "drunk room" to sleep it off. He later died from alcohol poisoning.

This and other information is contained in a search warrant obtained by Eyewitness News. The 18-year-old Dhanens recently graduated from Bakersfield's Garces High and was attending Fresno State University.

The chain of events began on the evening of Friday, Aug. 31, when Dhanens attended a "pinning ceremony" at Theta Chi Fraternity with 14-15 other pledges and 30-40 active frat members. Afterward, the group went to celebrate at a restaurant.

The group then returned to the Theta Chi house and started drinking, states the report. Members of the Theta Chi executive board entered the room congratulating the new pledges for showing interest in the fraternity and told them the fraternity was hosting a celebration that included large amounts of alcohol.

An admonishment was made to the new pledges that they were not required to participate in the consumption of alcohol. Police say, however, the pledges were encouraged to drink, socialize and bond with each other despite their young age as members chanted the fraternity name.

The report goes on to say that Dhanens consumed a considerable amount of alcohol within a one-hour period and began exhibiting severe symptoms of intoxication. When asked if he was alright, Dhanens answered "no" and passed out, falling out of his chair and onto the floor.

Unidentified fraternity members then carried Dhanens to the "Drunk Room," where he was reportedly watched over by 12 Theta Chi members referred to as "Sober Brothers."

After placing Dhanens in the "Drunk Room," the pledges continued to drink heavily, with six to seven pledges vomiting several times, the report states.

Fresno police say that about three hours later, executive board members Scott Long and fraternity member Francisco Velasquez entered the "Drunk Room" and found Dhanens unconscious and not breathing. Long and Velasquez began administering CPR while other frat members called 911.

Police say the alcohol for the ceremony was purchased by members of Theta Chi executive board with money contributed by fraternity members.

The search warrant states Theta Chi fraternity as not cooperating with the police investigation and that fraternity members were withholding information and/or evidence to this case.

Fresno police said they had no comment on the case.