Gorham Police arrested a former Phi Kappa Sigma pledge for operating under the influence of alcohol after he drove away from the pledge-pinning ceremony of the alcohol free fraternity.
Levi Nogues, 19, of 205 Dickey Hall, was arrested on March 4 after being pulled over by a Gorham Police officer at 1:19 a.m. for driving without his headlights on, according to police.
Sgt. Edward Blais, of the Gorham police said Nogues told him that he had consumed five beers at Phi Kappa’s fraternity house that evening ,which was pronounced alcohol free last July. Blais said Nogues was “trying to cheat me” by not blowing complete breaths into a breathalyzer, but still registered a .16 blood alcohol content. The legal limit in Maine is .07.
Nogues could not be reached for comment. Messages left on his machine by The Free Press went unreturned .
The president of USM’s Phi Kappa chapter, Wai Kue, said no brothers drank that night, saying, “I was here that night and there was no drinking.” Three other pledges were also there to receive pins, Kue said.
“I was not aware at all that (Nogues) was drunk,” Kue said.
“If a brother drinks, I find him, because I’m the president right now.”
It is unclear whether Nogues was a pledge the night of the incident. Kue said he was a pledge at one point during the semester, but is no longer affiliated with the frat. He declined to say specifically why, calling it Nogues’ decision. Kue said Nogues’ departure came some time after the arrest.
Phi Kappa Sigma’s 63 nationwide chapters participate in a mandatory Dry Skulls program, which prohibits alcohol from being consumed at chapter events and in fraternity houses. The program became mandatory for all chapters in July 2000.
Rodney Mondor, assistant director for Student Involvement and Greek Life, is the liaison to USM’s Greeks and works with their national chapters. Mondor said he was not aware of Nogues’ arrest. He said his attempts to verify the incident through the USM Police Department were unsuccessful.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” said Mondor. “If something comes up, it will be processed through the proper channel.”
“I don’t have time to start looking for problems,” he said. “I have enough else going on . I can’t act unless I have specifics.”
USM Police Officer Ben Moreland said he called Phi Kappa’s national headquarters in Pennsylvania last Wednesday to notify them of the incident. Moreland heard about the incident from Blais, who works a similar shift and often runs into him on police business.
“It’s just an effort to make them responsible,” said Moreland, who has collected the phone numbers of other fraternities’ national chapters in the event of a similar incident in the future.
“You’re supposed to take care of each other, you know?” said Moreland. “And they’re not doing that.”
Bob Miller, executive vice president of Phi Kappa’s national fraternity, said he had not received word about Moreland’s call by Friday afternoon, and declined to comment on Nogues’ arrest.
“We’re not looking to create a major situation, where that type of thing could be handled at the individual [chapter] level,” said Miller.
“If [the violation] happens to be [at] an event, we might get a little more involved in what’s going on,” he said.
Sanctions for violations of the Dry Skulls program can range from requiring chapter member to attend risk seminars to, in extreme cases, a chapter being shut down.
Blais pulled Nogues over as he was pulling out of Preble Street, where Phi Kappa’s house is located.
“He was pretty hammered,” said Blais. “He’s lucky he didn’t plow into anybody.”
Staff Writer Chris Baker can be contacted at: [email protected]