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UK suspends student, fraternity after fatal DUI; says alcohol served to minors at tailgate.

Jacob Heil
Jacob Heil

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The University of Kentucky has suspended the freshman student who allegedly struck a four-year-old boy outside the UK football game on Saturday as well as the fraternity he pledged, President Eli Capilouto announced in a campus wide email on Tuesday.

Those suspensions of Jacob Heil and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity will await the determination of investigations opened by the UK Police Department, which is working closely with the Lexington police department.

Marco Lee Shemwell, 4, and his family were waiting to cross Cooper Drive near Scoville around 2 p.m. on Saturday when the boy was struck by a car allegedly driven by Heil. Shemwell died at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital on Monday afternoon.

Heil, 18, was arrested at the scene on Cooper Drive Saturday and charged with driving under the influence. He told police he’d had two beers at the tailgate party before the afternoon game against Murray State University. A police report filed in court on Tuesday also said Heil had a blood-alcohol level of .051. The legal limit for those over age 21 is .08. For those under 21, the limit is .02.

Heil is due to be arraigned on Wednesday.

According to a letter that UK officials sent to ATO on Monday, the fraternity collected money from its members on Friday for an unregistered tailgate held at 214 Waller Avenue, where alcohol was served to minors. Every new pledge was present, the letter said, and pledges were allegedly forced to serve alcohol to other people, which constitutes a hazing violation.

An administrative hearing with UK officials and ATO has been scheduled for Thursday.

The ATO fraternity is at 441 Pennsylvania Avenue, but fraternities are not allowed to serve alcohol on campus unless it’s a registered event.

Waller Avenue turns into Cooper Drive on the eastern side of Nicholasville Road.

With an interim suspension, all ATO activities must cease, but the members can continue living in the house. A UK employee has moved in to be resident director.

UK official said the organization’s national chapter is also conducting an investigation. The national chapter did not return the Herald-Leader’s calls for comment on Tuesday.

Capilouto also said that Provost David Blackwell and his senior leadership team met Monday evening with the leadership of all four UK Greek Life organizations as well as leaders of individual chapters and Student Government Association President Michael Hamilton top discuss issues such as student rules on alcohol and student involvement and safety at games.

“We are united in our commitment to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community that values each member and those who visit us,” Capilouto said in the email. “That means being open to new ideas, appropriate safety measures and policies, and further dialogue to promote the safety and well-being of all those who call this community home and for all those who visit with us as members of our extended UK family.”

In preparation for this Saturday night’s game against Mississippi State University, UK police will install additional lighting along heavily traveled roads around the stadium.

Rochelle Fischer is shares her story about the night she got busted for a DUI in Bellingham, Washington, hoping others will learn from her mistake.

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