National fraternity closes UK’s Alpha Tau Omega chapter


The former Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Rick Childress

The National Fraternity Alpha Tau Omega announced Wednesday that it will close the UK chapter following an internal investigation.

UK announced yesterday that the fraternity was suspended on an interim basis, and Jacob Heil, an ATO pledge, was suspended after being identified as the driver of the silver car that struck and fatally injured 4-year-old Marco Shemwell on Saturday. Heil was charged with DUI but pled not guilty in Fayette court on Wednesday. 

A letter sent from UK to ATO showed that the fraternity pooled money from its members on Friday for an unregistered, off-campus tailgate on Waller Avenue. The alcohol purchased at the tailgate was served to minors, and every new pledge was present.  

Heil told police that he had had two beers at a tailgate hours before the incident took place, court records show. Police at the scene determined that he had a 0.051 blood-alcohol level and showed “signs of impairment” when he was arrested.

“Following an investigation conducted by the National Fraternity Alpha Tau Omega has revoked the charter of the University of Kentucky Mu Iota chapter,” WKYT reported the fraternity said in a statement. “Violations of the Fraternity’s Health and Safety policy prompted the decision. The chapter is closed and ATO no longer has a presence on campus.”