Local News

Autopsy: UNC freshman's blood alcohol level was three times legal limit

Posted October 29, 2012 10:39 a.m. EDT
Updated October 8, 2013 12:54 p.m. EDT

David Palmer Shannon, photo from Twitter

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill freshman found dead on the ground of a cement factory last year had a blood alcohol concentration nearly three times the legal limit, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The body of David Palmer Shannon, 18, of Charlotte, was discovered Oct. 27 on the ground at Ready Mixed Concrete Plant on Guthrie Avenue in Carrboro after, investigators believe, he had been climbing on machinery and fell an estimated 30 feet onto a concrete surface.

A toxicology report indicates that Shannon's blood alcohol level was 220 mg/dL, or a BAC of 0.22. In North Carolina, a person is usually considered impaired at 0.08 or higher.

Shannon died of blunt force trauma of the head, neck and torso as a result of the fall, the autopsy report says.

Shannon was a 2012 graduate of Myers Park High School in Charlotte and was pledging Chi Phi fraternity.

According to an investigative report released with the autopsy report, he was last heard from via text message around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 27.

Friends who followed a GPS signal from his cellphone found him around 10:30 p.m. after becoming concerned when he didn't show up for a football game earlier that day, the investigative report stated.

At the time, Carrboro police called Shannon's death an isolated incident, but last month in a report to the town manager, they said they haven't ruled out the possibility of hazing, a class 2 misdemeanor.

The fraternity's president told UNC-Chapel Hill's student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, last month that it doesn't haze pledges.

In the wake of his death, the university set up a scholarship, the David Palmer Shannon Memorial Fund, in his memory.