By: WCTV Eyewitness News
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Governor Ron DeSantis signs "Andrew's Law", strengthening Florida's already existing hazing law.
The law is named after FSU student Andrew Coffey, who died as a result of a fraternity hazing event back in November 2017 when he was forced to drink an entire bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon. He became extremely ill. His "brothers" then moved him to the couch to sleep it off. No one called for help. He was found dead the next morning.
The existing statute, signed into law in 2005 by then-Governor Jeb Bush, is referred to as the "Chad Meredith Act" and made hazing incidents that caused serious injury or death a third-degree felony in Florida.
"Andrew's Law" toughens the law by adding that even the fraternity or sorority leaders who plan the hazing event, but aren't physically present for the hazing will be criminally liable if someone is seriously injured or killed.
"If one of the kids from the party that night—there were 90 kids there—if just one of them would have picked up the phone when they saw that Andrew needed some help, he'd still be here," Andrew’s mother, Sandy, said to lawmakers during hearings on the bill.
The law also adds that the first person to call 9-1-1 to report the hazing incident and anyone administering aid to the victim until authorities respond will not be prosecuted.