Eighteen-year old Scott Krueger, a freshman from Orchard Park, NY, died in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Monday night after three days in a coma, apparently induced by alcohol.
"The death of Scott Krueger, a bright and talented young man, is a terrible tragedy," President Charles Vest said. "Our hearts go out to the Krueger family. We will offer and be available for whatever support we can provide to them. It is our great regret that we can do little to ease their profound pain and grief.
"For Scott's fellow students, and the faculty and staff who had come to know him, this is a dreadful loss as well, and the MIT community will do all that we can to see that this kind of tragedy never happens here again."
He had been discovered unconscious in his room by his fraternity brothers at Phi Gamma Delta, after drinking heavily at a fraternity event. Shortly before midnight Friday, the fraternity called Campus Police, who immediately called 911 to alert Boston Police and then went to the fraternity, which is located at 28 The Fenway. Mr. Krueger was unresponsive when Boston police, firefighters and paramedics arrived a few minutes later, and was taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and placed on life support.
His parents, Darlene and Robert Krueger, were notified and arrived at the hospital Saturday morning. He did not revive from the coma, and was taken off the life support systems on Monday and died at 6:40pm.
Scott, who competed in lacrosse, soccer and wrestling at Orchard Park High School, was a candidate for the heavyweight crew. His intended major was mechanical engineering. He was among the top 10 students in a graduating class of 325.
"I can't say enough good things about Scott and would never connect him with peer pressure behavior," said Robert P. Farwell Jr., principal of Orchard Park High School, who described Mr. Krueger as "a quiet leader."
The principal said Scott excelled in math and recruited students to rescue an advanced chemistry class that was in danger of being canceled due to lack of interest.
"He was the least likely kind of guy to get in this kind of drinking situation," said Mr. Farwell. "But I guess you never know."
Mr. Krueger is survived by his parents; an older sister, Kelly; a twin sister, Katie; and a younger brother, Jeff. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Boston police are investigating the cause of death and an autopsy will be performed. Toxicology tests will also be done to establish whether drugs were involved. "That doesn't mean we suspect drugs or foul play," said Boston Police Sgt. Margot Hill. "We always take a thorough look at the cause of death when it occurs under unknown circumstances." She said it takes three to four weeks to determine the results of toxicology tests.
Boston police also have issued citations to the house for liquor and housing code violations. The fraternity was suspended from conducting social activities pending the results of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
"We want to find out what happened," Senior Associate Dean Robert M. Randolph told reporters at a news conference Sunday. "If hazing was involved, we want to find that out." He told reporters that the freshmen had been assigned to big brothers in the fraternity on Friday night after which an informal "celebratory" event took place "Underage students should not be drinking, period," said Dean Randolph. "It's against the law."
On Sunday night, the MIT Inter-Fraternity Council voluntarily canceled all events at which alcohol was to be served until the risk management policies of all fraternities, sororities and independent living groups (FSILGs) and the IFC itself have been reviewed. The IFC is comprised of the 39 FSILGs at MIT.
The Dormitory Council also announced on Monday night an indefinite ban on alcohol at all dormitory social functions, pending a review of alcohol policies in MIT housing.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 1997.