Cole Whaley, a 20-year-old student and Pi Kappa Phi at the University of Southern Mississippi, died after plunging from a closed 11th story hotel window over the weekend in New Orleans. Local authorities say his death was the result of his intoxication.
Witnesses told police that Whaley repeatedly ran into the window at the Double Tree hotel before breaking through it and falling to the hotel’s fourth-floor pool deck. One witness claimed that Whaley was yelling in the hotel room while another said the inebriated young man screamed, “Let’s go swimming” before slamming into the window three times.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, another witness described Whaley as “highly intoxicated” before his death. Whaley was from Mobile, Alabama and was in New Orleans for a fraternity function.
Toxicology reports are pending, according to the coroner’s office.
Police spokesman Dawne Massey said that police were “still collecting witness statements” when asked how Whaley managed to break through a closed window and how much his roughhousing was to blame for his death.
One fraternity member who was also present in New Orleans told the Hattiesburg American that Whaley’s death was the result of a “freak accident.”
Kyle Cruce, a sophomore at Southern Miss and one of Whaley’s roommates, said that “Everyone wanted to be best friends with him because he was so positive and cool. That’s the kind of guy he was.”