WRAL.com reports that the family of one of two aspiring members of the Delta Sigma Theta chapter at East Carolina has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the chapter, the National organization, and numerous individuals, following a fatal accident in November of 2010. The lawsuit claims “that hazing led to the fatal wreck.” It “alleges that the sorority hazed the pledges in multiple ways, including depriving them of sleep.”
Here is WRAL.com’s story from the time of the accident. In a story post by WITN.com at the time of the accident, it indicates that four women were heading to get their hair done in preparation for “a sorority induction ceremony later that evening.” The driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit a tree. The accident happened around 6:30 am. All four women were in the process of joining Delta Sigma Theta.
The driver of the car was charged and plead guilty to two counts of “misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.” (The East Carolinian)
The East Carolinian then report in January of this year that the chapter was under investigation by their National organization. The article implies that the investigation is related to the deaths. There are no other stories posted about the chapter on the student newspaper’s site.
The new story about the lawsuit is the first to indicate that hazing may have played a role in the deaths. It indicates that the driver was “so exhausted after weeks of hazing that she fell asleep while driving Carter and their classmates to an early-morning sorority appointment.” It also alleges that the sorority tried to cover up “the hazing by deleting emails, text message records and other documents and threatening pledges, according to the lawsuit.”
Nearly two years later, it may be necessary to retroactively add two more names to Hank Nuwer’s list of hazing-related deaths.
Update: Newsobserver.com has a more detailed article posted on Oct. 3rd. It provides details of the alleged hazing activities, and it indicates that the chapter has been suspended by the National organization until at least 2015.