When emergency medical teams arrived on the scene, they found Thomas Gleason, 26, unconscious on the floor. While they attempted to administer aid to Gleason, three other unidentified males "collapsed and became unresponsive," a report from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office stated.
The three other affected attendees eventually survived the incident, but Gleason tragically passed away a few days later.
Bob Gleason recalled making the heartbreaking trip from Connecticut to Florida with his wife, Pam, after their son had been rushed to the hospital.
"By the time we got to Charlotte (for a layover), the doctor was like, ‘Do you want us to keep him alive?'" Gleason said.
By the time they got to the hospital, Tom Gleason remained alive only because of a ventilator. Once it was switched off, he died within minutes.
Investigators determined that Gleason died from "a lethal dose of fentanyl," which they say had been mixed in with the cocaine that he had snorted. Gleason's fraternity brother and fellow party attendee, John "J. D." Nabors, 26, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, was allegedly the person who brought the cocaine to the party and distributed it among his friends.
On November 15, a grand jury decided to indict Nabors on felony charges of distributing a controlled substance causing death. He turned himself in to the Walton County Jail last Wednesday. He has been released on $25,000 bond and is scheduled to appear again in court on January 17.
For his part, Bob Gleason does not believe that his son's death was just a tragic accident.
"It wasn’t like these guys went down the street and found a dealer," Bob Gleason told reporters. "They trust [Nabors] because he was their fraternity brother. They got it from a trusted friend, and this is what happened."
Bob Gleason alleged that Nabors either wittingly or unwittingly poisoned his friends with "straight fentanyl."
"When the toxicology came back, Tom wasn’t even drunk," Bob Gleason added elsewhere. "He had his wits about him, and so did everybody else. But the fentanyl level was off the charts."
Still, the Gleason family hopes that Tom's story may help spare others from a similar fate.
"It would surely be Tom's wish, that his passing serves as a lifelong mandate to all those that knew him, as well as all those that they in turn love; to never drink, eat or ingest anything whose origin cannot be identified," an obituary for Tom Gleason read in part.
The name of the groom whose bachelor party the friends were celebrating has not been given. He is not believed to be one of the men affected by fentanyl that evening. There are conflicting reports regarding whether the wedding was called off entirely after Gleason's death or whether it has just been postponed. Gleason was set to be the best man.