Two charged following death of H-SC student

Published 11:00 am Friday, September 22, 2017

Two men have been charged following the death of an 18-year-old Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) student who was found dead in his dorm room in March.

“At the direction of the Prince Edward County Commonwealth’s Attorney (Megan Clark), Nicholas F. Chase, 22, of Wilmington, N.C., and James D. Ingersoll, 21, of Crozet, Va., were each charged Sept. 15 … by State Police with one misdemeanor count of purchasing alcoholic beverages for underage individuals (Code of VA 4.1-306),” State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in an email Friday.

H. Carter Cole

Hampden-Sydney Director of Communications and Marketing Gordon Neal confirmed that Chase and Ingersoll are currently students at the college.

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Clark noted that they were also students at the time of the allegations and that they are all members of the same fraternity that Cole was in.

“No additional charges are pending,” she said. “No additional suspects are being explored at this time.”

At the request of H-SC Police, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office initiated an investigation into the March 25 unattended death of Carter Cole, of Jeffersonton.

“The student was discovered deceased in his dorm room. His remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination and autopsy,” Geller said.

“The charges stem from a ‘movie night’ event hosted by a fraternity for its members. Chase and Ingersoll allegedly purchased the alcohol for the event, which Cole attended,” Geller said.

As for details of this event, Clark said that to her knowledge, “a particular movie is shown as a part of fraternity tradition. During the movie, alcohol is provided.”

The cause of death of the H-SC freshman has been pinpointed as acute alcohol intoxication, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond.

The manner of the death, confirmed by Chief Medical Examiner Jeanette Collins, was accidental.

Collins said the cause and manner of death were determined June 9.

Finalizing evidence can depend on various factors, Collins said, and can take between 12-16 weeks.

Cole was a member of the Hampden-Sydney swim team and the Alpha Chi Sigma fraternity.

The Alpha Chi Sigma chapter at H-SC has been suspended by its national office, according to Neal in a previous interview. He said the college would suspend recognition of the chapter. He said the college is cooperating in regards to the chapter’s suspension.

A candlelight vigil was held for Cole at H-SC on March 29.