The coroner who performed the autopsy on Stone Foltz said he ruled the cause of death as accidental ethanol poisoning, with fraternity induction contributing.
Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Thomas Blomquist testified Tuesday at the trial of two men who are accused in Foltz’s death.
Before Blomquist entered the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman, Prosecutor Paul Dobson stipulated several facts, including aside from ethanol, no drugs were found in Foltz’s system, and blood and urine samples used by the coroner were obtained at Wood County Hospital March 6.
Parties also stipulated that Foltz consumed a one-liter bottle of Evans Williams bourbon and that the cause of death was fatal ethanol poisoning.
An earlier agreement meant autopsy photos were not introduced.
“It is my opinion that Stone Foltz died of fatal ethanol intoxication. Manner of death accident. Cause fraternity induction,” Blomquist said.
He testified Foltz had swelling of his brain, which he determined was caused by lack of oxygen.
“What we do know was that he was discovered in his own vomit, around his face,” Blomquist said, which was also present in his lungs.
There are two parts of an autopsy: External head to toe exam that looks for injuries and internal exam when the organs are inspected.
Blomquist said there were no external injuries and since Foltz was an organ and tissue donor, not all organs could be examined.
Toxicology tests showed Foltz’s blood alcohol content was 0.35, which differed from the plasma measurement of 0.394 that was taken at Wood County Hospital.
“As you approach a 0.4 grams per deciliter level, you approach coma, respiratory suppression and you can have cardiac arrhythmia,” Blomquist said.
He said he ruled the death an accident as opposed to suicide or homicide, “but we debated this one quite a bit … (before) we rendered a verdict of accident.”
Parents Cory and Shari Foltz were not in the courtroom during Blomquist’s testimony.
Jacob Krinn and Troy Henricksen, both members of Pi Alpha Kappa, are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Foltz, a Bowling Green State University sophomore from Delaware, Ohio.
Foltz died March 7, 2021, after attending an event three days earlier at an off-campus house run by Pike, which is the informal name for Pi Alpha Kappa.
The anti-hazing policy at BGSU was introduced Tuesday as were audio interviews with Krinn and Henricksen.
The interviews with Jeremy Zilmer, associate dean of students at BGSU, Krinn, Henricksen and attorneys representing BGSU were played.
In it, Krinn, who was Foltz’s Big at the March event, said he wasn’t watching his Little the entire time nor was he with him the entire time.
Krinn, who was a sophomore at the time, said he and another member took Foltz home around 10 p.m. They put him on the couch with a pillow under his head and a bucket nearby. They stayed for 30 minutes.
Krinn said no one ever told him that pledges have to finish their bottle.
When asked why they do, he responded “to try to seem cool and impress somebody.”
In his interview, Henricksen, who was a senior at the time of the party, said he pledged Pike in fall 2017.
He said that during Big/Little night, he drank half his Captain Morgan Private Stock but was never told he had to finish the bottle.
In 2021, as a new member educator, he said he did not tell pledges what to expect at the Big/Little event, but did tell them to plan to miss classes the next morning.
Henricksen said he didn’t go to the event because he had a military physical test in the morning.
He said the morning after the event, he was told to delete the pledges page.
Daylen Dunson, who was Pike president at the time of the party, said he recruited Foltz for membership in the fraternity.
Dunson spoke of the text messages that were sent after learning Foltz was in the hospital, as well as the Zoom meeting with university officials where he was told the fraternity was suspended due to an alleged hazing incident.
Dunson said when he was initiated, he finished his bottle in 30 minutes and didn’t throw up, and said pledges were still initiated if they didn’t drink their whole bottle.
He said the Big/Little event on March 4, 2021, was pretty typical and nearly everyone in the basement of the home at 318 N. Main St. was drinking when he arrived. He was there about 20 minutes.
Dunson said he heard that there was an ambulance in front of Foltz’s apartment about 90 minutes after he got home to his apartment.
“Everyone was shocked and didn’t know what to do,” Dunson said.
He read from a text chain with Pike’s executive board, with messages that included Foltz was blue.
“That’s bad, very bad. Is anyone with him?” Dunson wrote.
He said Krinn was in that chat group and he was asked why he left Foltz unsupervised. An answer was not given.
Dunson said that, in a text message, he told members to go home and pray for Foltz, delete all social media about the party, tell everyone Big/Little did not happen and “be smart about your words and actions about this situation.”
Dunson was among six men who accepted plea deals in this case.
He said he told members he was going to the hospital, but did not as he was concerned about getting in trouble with BGSU because they were not supposed to have alcohol at these events.
He contacted the chapter’s adviser, who is also a prosecutor, with the message he didn’t know what to do and didn’t know the crisis plan for when a member was in the hospital.
The next morning, upon learning of the situation, the adviser stepped down, Dunson said.
In a text chain with the executive board, Dunson said all they could do was hope Foltz would be OK, and they needed to talk to him and his girlfriend and ask them not to “rat out” the fraternity. He also told members to delete all chats and online pages about the event.
During a Zoom meeting the morning after the party with BGSU officials, he learned Pike was suspended.
“The choice to consume is solely and strictly the choice of the pledge, correct?” asked attorney Samuel Shamansky, who is representing Krinn.
“Correct,” Dunson responded.
“Nothing but personal choice,” Shamansky pressed, adding that the expectation to finish the bottle lives only in the minds of the pledges.
“Yes,” was the response.
Henricksen’s attorney, Eric Long, stressed the fact that his client, Henricksen, wanted to meet with pledges to learn what was going on and he was not a part of the executive board or national text strings.