The cops were called to a loud frat party near American University in Washington, D.C. in November, which is nothing to be so shocked about. But the police reported that there was so much alcohol at the party that even the air inside the frat house tested positive for alcohol. The party’s hosts have now been hit with 126 criminal charges each.
According to court documents, there were between 60 and 70 people, mostly American University students, at the rager. The cops could actually smell the alcohol from outside the house; they noticed the basement, where most people were partying, was full of cans and liquor bottles on the floor, which was “sticky and covered with alcoholic beverage.” Basically the expected state of affairs for every single frat party to ever be thrown in the history of frat parties.
But the remarkable thing is that the air inside the house registered a .01 percent on a breathalyzer one of the police officers was just carrying around. As a result, the officers began testing the breath of people at the party and issuing citations. The cops also reportedly found at least eight people “jammed into a bathroom hiding from officers in the basement,” and another actually jumped from a second-floor bathroom window in an attempt to get away.
BuzzFeed spoke to a forensic toxicologist named Dwain C. Fuller who confirmed it actually does not take as much alcohol as you would think for the air to test positive. “The ambient alcohol registered by the breath device would be a combination of breath alcohol, alcoholic beverages, and spilled alcohol,” Fuller said. He confirms that the latter two are what would contribute the most to the breathalyzer reading. “Something as simple as using ethanol-based hand sanitizer in a closed room or vehicle can result in an ambient alcohol of 0.03 g/dL or probably greater.”
The party, which was named “Tequila Tuesday Hoy a las 22:00” on Facebook, was hosted by six members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, each charged with 126 counts of allowing underage possession of alcohol and furnishing alcohol to a minor. Three served on the executive board of SAE’s American University chapter. Although it is unlikely the boys will be charged the full amount, they face up to $315,000 charges in fines each.
SAE has been in the news before, most notably for a viral video in which several of its members from the University of Oklahoma chapter were filmed singing a racist chant back in 2015. The University of Oklahoma subsequently shut down that SAE chapter.