Tucker Hipps Story: Not Going Away

NEW DETAILS EMERGE IN DEATH OF 19-YEAR-OLD CLEMSON STUDENT || By FITSNEWS || Ten days after The Chronicle of Higher Education published a lengthy report on the unsolved mystery of Tucker Hipps’ death, CNN is reporting breaking news in the case. According to court documents obtained by the network, a new witness…


|| By FITSNEWS || Ten days after The Chronicle of Higher Education published a lengthy report on the unsolved mystery of Tucker Hipps’ death, CNN is reporting breaking news in the case.

According to court documents obtained by the network, a new witness has come forward with information related to the death of the 19-year-old Clemson University student.  Hipps died of blunt force trauma to the head eleven months ago following an “unsupported fall” from a bridge near campus.

The incident occurred at around 5:00 a.m. EDT on September 22 during a “fitness event” organized by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at Clemson.  Hipps’ fraternity brothers claimed he fell behind during their early morning run – and they didn’t report him as missing until 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.

Sensing a cover-up, Hipps’ parents have filed a lawsuit against Clemson, Sigma Phi Epsilon and three of Hipps’ fraternity brothers –Thomas Carter King, Campbell T. Staff and Samuel Quillen Carney.  Carney – who is accused of organizing the event – is the son of U.S. Rep. John Carney, a three-term congressman from Delaware.

According to the suit, Hipps was ordered by a Sigma Phi Epsilon leader to purchase thirty McDonald’s biscuits, thirty hash browns and two gallons of chocolate milk for his fraternity brothers.  When he said he didn’t have the money, a “confrontation” ensued – with the end result being Hipps “unsupported fall” from the bridge.

The suit also alleges Hipps’ “brothers” lied about their knowledge of his death – and attempted to cover it up.

Specifically, one fraternity member is accused of texting Hipps’ girlfriend and telling her that Hipps had been seen in the school’s library the morning of his death.  He later texted his “brothers” to inform them of this fabrication, telling them the deception would help them “buy some time.”

Hipps’ brothers didn’t report him as missing for seven hours.

Some “brothers,” huh?

Clemson, Sigma Phi Epsilon and the three individual defendants have all disputed the lawsuit’s allegations – claiming Hipps is to blame for his own death.  Citing “negligence” on his part, they’ve asked for the suit to be dismissed.


While awaiting a ruling, though, an amended suit has been filed – one containing a firsthand account of Hipps’ death from an unnamed witness.

According to the witness, three members of Sigma Phi Epsilon “forced Tucker to get onto the narrow railing along the bridge and walk some distance of the bridge on top of the railing.”

“Tucker slipped from the railing and caught the railing under his arms …. tried to climb back onto the bridge unassisted … lost his grip on the bridge and fell headfirst into the water below, striking his head on the rocks in the shallow water,” the witness’ account continued.

The amended suit alleges one of Hipps’ “brothers” attempted to locate him in the waters below using a light from a cell phone – but that no attempt was made to rescue him.

FITS was the first outlet to suggest fraternity hazing played a role in Hipps’ death.  We were also the first outlet to report on how Hipps might have met his untimely end on the bridge that morning.

Original reports from sources close to the situation indicated Hipps might have been dropped from the bridge – with one source saying his fall appeared to have occurred as a result of being dangled by his ankles over the bridge’s railing.

Our reports sparked a firestorm of controversy at the school – and were quickly downplayed by local law enforcement.

“There has been speculation and innuendo, especially on social media, regarding whether hazing played a part in the death of Tucker Hipps,” Oconee County sheriff Mike Crenshaw said at the time. “So far, there has been no indication in the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office investigation that hazing played a part in the death of Tucker Hipps.”

Sigma Phi Epsilon also disputed our initial reports, saying there was “no evidence” hazing played a role in Hipps’ death.


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Victorious Secret August 13, 2015 at 8:43 am

Sad story. Such pathetic and foolish behavior from immature adolescents, all in the name of “greek” life.

Cue the angry “greeks” for their forthcoming ridiculous and illogical comments followed by a mysterious hacking and temporary periods of “404 Not Found”–(because taking this site down temporarily will somehow undo the damage)

E Norma Scok August 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

Hacking? Seriously? The *one* server Fits has the site running on goes down from a crap DB design and you place the blame on “hacking”. Thats not hacking…it’s a tuesday night.

If the security on this thing is that lax that simple DDOS attack kills the database, then maybe Fits ought to look into spending more than the $4.95 a month he’s investing and get it hosted somewhere that has a modicum of security.

Jack's typing thumbs August 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

He’s actually got a point there. From the looks of it, it doesn’t take much to knock this site off line. It wouldn’t even need that strong of a DDOS. A big one might wipe out the server completely.

Dan Hendrix August 13, 2015 at 8:56 am

Should have sued the political suck up Oconee county Sheriff. He jumped out and stated that Tucker hit his head trying to take a short cut, an embarrassment to decent law enforcement.

swpbbls August 13, 2015 at 9:47 am

No matter how many times the script is rewritten, the powers that shouldn’t be will simply click their heels three times and sum it up as ‘self-inflicted wounds’. That’s the favored Balm of Gilead that soothes the cowards’ inner conflict and makes it all go away with no consequences to any but the innocent.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

Well, the feds will soon be there on another police matter . . .

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:06 am

close but no cigar. the Seneca police are located in Oconee County but they are not the Oconee County Sheriff’s office.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 11:07 am

I knew you would show up with that point!!!! LMAO!!

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:10 am

So that is why your made your factual error? It was intentional?

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 11:14 am

There is no factual error. You see, the feds will be in Oconee County, which is where Seneca is located. They can leave one department, get into what is called an automobile, and drive to a second department.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:23 am

Thanks for such informed info. I did not realize that the Feds had shared their itinerary with you. Will the Feds stop at all LE establishments along the way from their point of departure or have they not so informed you yet?

swpbbls August 13, 2015 at 11:59 am

The feds will pair off into their respective ‘fraternities’ and the outcome/story remains the same. The brothers: not very charitable.

Jackie Chiles August 13, 2015 at 11:24 am

Sued him for what? Saying the wrong thing?

Dan Hendrix August 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Malfeasance in office, worst law enforcement investigation in history of state.

Jackie Chiles August 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I’m not sure that’s a private cause of action. Otherwise the government would be bankrupt by now.

truthmonger August 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Conspiracy. 1983 action. Plenty there….

Jackie Chiles August 13, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Good luck with that.

Speak D Truth August 13, 2015 at 8:58 am

It’s sad that it took someone a year to come forward. I’m glad that they did and now it appears that some people will go to jail for the hazing and for failing to help him as he struggled to pull himself up. No one intended for him to fall. No one intended for him to die. But to stand there and watch him struggle to keep from falling and do nothing to help him is tantamount to murder.

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 9:01 am

So this report came out ten days ago, and you are just now reporting on it?

Until people are under oath and giving their version of events, it is ALL hearsay and gossip. Reserve judgement until then.

People post on here as if they were there when it happened.

lorisc August 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

Don’t you agree that this statement explains the injuries found in the autopsy. He had injuries to his head, arms and legs? Common sense has always said this was more than Tucker jumping into the lake on his own. Why did no one help him? Why was there a cover-up? Why did they fail to report him missing for seven hours. Sure, we don’t know exactly what happened, but you don’t have to be Einstein to realize that these kids weren’t being truthful in their near identical statement of what happened when their statements didn’t match the injuries found during the autopsy.

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 10:11 am

Actually, I had not heard that an autopsy had been released other than toxicology report until this FITS post. Knowing how ‘accurate’ FITS News is, I would like to see that elsewhere.

Actually, Hipps jumping WOULD explain everything else you listed. If he jumped and no one saw it (because he fell behind and it was dark) there would be no attempt to save him, there would be no cover-up. there would be unanimity of the testimonies.

Getting 30+ people to all say the same thing, when something very different and nefarious occurred is not a given. These are not prison inmates, these a 18 and 19 year old kids and they have only known each other (and the guys they were supposedly ‘protecting’) less than 4 months. Nearly everyone there is not a initiated brother but pledges. As their class President, they probably felt more allegiance to Tucker than to those three brothers. Yet not one of them, is going to jump in the lake to save him? Not one is going to tell a heart-broken parent what happened? Not one of them would use their cell phone to summon EMS? They would all just leave as if nothing happened?

First he was ‘dangled’ from the bridge, now he was not dangled but slipped as he walked across. He hit head first even though his body would have been totally vertical in the position described? A leap from one bridge towards the other, would be at least as likely to result in an head injury.

Everybody wants to believe the sensational version of events as gospel without question, but try telling that to the Duke Lacrosse team.

I want the truth and the whole truth to come out, but I am not going to convict anyone based on gossip and speculation.

lorisc August 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

If you don’t believe Fits check the other news sources for the autopsy injuries. Wyff, The State, CNN, ABC, USA Today are all reporting the injuries found during the autopsy.

You talk of allegiance to Tucker. Don’t you think you are doing some speculating of your own? Perhaps these pledges initially went along with the story and the cover-up. but now realize they could have impeded an investigation or been an accessory after the fact, which could result in criminal charges. see, my speculation is every bit as plausible as yours

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

They are ALL quoting the CNN story and the new documents that are added to the lawsuit. The Coroner says he cannot legally release the autopsy to the press. Did the parents get the autopsy? If so, that is not stated. The only speculation I have done is to counterpoint the speculation of others.

Let the trial bring out the facts.

here you go August 13, 2015 at 10:51 am Reply
vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm

That is the CNN report, the one which FITS is quoting. It is not an additional ‘source’ it is the same one.

Based on the info. below, the autopsy is personal health info. and therefore subject to HIPAA regulations. Other than the cause of death and toxicology results, I have not seen any other results released.

Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said his death was caused by a head injury consistent with a fall.

WYFF News 4 contacted Addis to try to answer many of the questions being raised by viewers.

Addis responded saying, “I understand the public has interest in the untimely death of this young man.

“This is an active, ongoing death investigation by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Department and no further details will be released regarding this death by the coroner office until the sheriff’s department completes their investigation and after meeting with Mr. and Ms. Hipps (Tucker’s parents).

“In regards to autopsy reports, the SC Supreme Court has ruled autopsy reports are considered personal health information and I will not release copies of the report to the media. I have released the cause of death which was a head injury consistent with a fall from one of the bridge spans. The manner of death at this time is ‘Pending Investigation.’

“Toxicology analysis is ongoing; results of this will be released too, again when the investigation is completed and the parents have been advised.

9" August 13, 2015 at 9:04 am

With that many people involved,the truth will out in the end,maybe,and what’s up with the cops?They know this sounds hinky,or are they waiting for more people to talk?People don’t realize that most murders in the US are never solved…

utah August 13, 2015 at 9:05 am

That whole “fitness program” Sig Ep’s national program advocates and pushes on chapters is a breeding ground for hazing. Any person with half a brain should have known that something like this could happen during one of those runs. Sig Ep definitely has exposure to a sizable verdict in this case.

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

Yeah right, because fitness has always been the most common element in hazing, as opposed to say, drinking.

utah August 13, 2015 at 10:43 am

The fact that hazing could occur through other avenues is irrelevant to the fact that the national fraternity condoned, advocated, and advanced a program whereby pledges were required by brothers to engage in physical activities that could–and apparently did–lead to hazing. And that such an outcome was easily foreseeable.

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

The National Fraternity did no such thing. The National Fraternity does not prescribe these type events and requires that any occurring be voluntary. Whether the CHAPTER violated the rules to make it mandatory has not been proven.

The Colonel August 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm

The National Chapter (I am a member) has gone to great lengths to eliminate hazing completely, going as far as to re-write the “ritual” associated with the fraternity. However, and this is a big however, there isn’t enough oversight of the individual chapters to ensure that they are complying with the “Balanced Man” Program.

Scott Wingo August 13, 2015 at 9:11 am

FITS was the first outlet to suggest fraternity hazing played a role in Hipps’ death.

In other news, blind squirrel finds acorn

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 9:54 am

Scott, when do you think FITS will reveal who took your ACT for you?

easterndumbfuckistan August 13, 2015 at 9:33 am

Que the SPE script kiddies in 5…401…3…2…1.

vicupstate August 13, 2015 at 9:38 am

Que the eyewitnesses that never told Law Enforcement what they knew ..oh wait, they are already here.

erneba August 13, 2015 at 9:48 am

It is an tragic situation, both sides should spent time in a character rehabilitation program.
Law enforcement must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that some one is guilty. Unfortunately, all the people in a defensive posture have to prove nothing. You have to prove guilt, innocence is assumed, without compelling evidence.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 9:50 am

If you don’t like the US system, perhaps you could emigrate to some middle east country. They may have a system you prefer.

Bible Thumper August 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

But there is a civil case also, where the standard of proof is not as high.

erneba August 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

yes, you are right, I was speaking of a criminal case. But, some of the same concept apply. In both cases, the plaintiff must prove the guilt, to a lesser degree in a civil case. But the absence of proof by the plaintiff does not require the defendant to prove his innocence.,

Bible Thumper August 13, 2015 at 1:59 pm

“First of all, any party or witness in a civil case may be called to testify, whether they are facing criminal charges or not.  Second, witnesses in civil actions do not enjoy an unfettered right to refuse to answer questions on Fifth Amendment grounds. Finally, in a civil case it is perfectly permissible for a judge or jury to infer that a witness is guilty of wrongdoing if they invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in response to a question. (Of course, civil juries can’t send witnesses to jail for invoking the Fifth Amendment; they can only find them civilly liable.)’

lorisc August 13, 2015 at 10:34 am

It’s beyond a reasonable doubt, not a shadow of a doubt. That’s a huge difference. One means there is enough evidence for a reasonable person to conclude a crime happened. The other means there is no doubt a crime happened. Beyond a shadow of a doubt comes from TV.

utah August 13, 2015 at 10:46 am

In the civil case it’s only required to prove liability by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning more likely than not–a far cry from the criminal standard.

lorisc August 13, 2015 at 10:52 am

I know that. I was commenting on the “beyond a shadow of a doubt”. I spent a lot of years in law enforcements and many of those assigned to a court. I know about burden of proof. Plus, I learned it in Criminal Justice 101 and Criminal Law. Like I said, beyond a shadow of a doubt is TV talk.

Rocky Verdad August 13, 2015 at 9:55 am

So a quick question – if the fraternity forced pledges out onto the bridge, are the liable for the accident that followed? And why, if it was indeed an accidential fall, did they try to cover it up? Ok – two questions.

Federal Charges Cometh. August 13, 2015 at 10:05 am

It can now be asserted that the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is entwined in collusion with a cover up. They are Mickey Mouse anyway. This was way over their heads to begin with.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 10:37 am

The next time you hear someone make an inane reference to the “Clemson family,” think about this situation.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

inane. is that the definition of “a face in the crowd”?

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 11:06 am

Today must be a tough one for you. Yet another national blow to your beloved school.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

Yes, we are still in the upper tiers but not yet number 1. The capital campaign is closing in on $1B. Yes things are so bad.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

Actually, some things there are pretty bad. The university cannot keep its power on consistently, with faculty and staff heading home at odd hours. Maybe the university ought to invest some of that capital in existing infrastructure. But come to think of it, it may need to spend that money on attorney fees.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 11:29 am

News flash for face! All government suffers from the false economy of “deferred maintenance” pushed on them by state/federal bean counters. But also, not surprisingly, you ignore the facts of the major construction projects that are in progress that invariably create the need for power outages. But being a typical ivory tower type, you think a university only exists to pay homage to your whims.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 11:52 am

Perhaps you can inform us about the multiple times squirrels have taken down the power for hours on end. And also the CU email postings indicating attempts to fix power outages once the problems can be located. “Deferred maintenance” — Please spare us the bullsh*t.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm

WOW! heavy duty technical data there. Power outages can be fixed once the source is located. Damn! I would not have thought that. You mean some ivory tower personage such as yourself can’t just issue a decree? Just recently storms went thru parts of SC and the power went out. I bet they didn’t know that learned folk such as yourself could calm the storms so that will not recur.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

February 15, 2015 date on that article. They should probably get to work.

happier face than yours August 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm

you don’t really know how things work in the actual world, do you?

a happier face than yours August 13, 2015 at 11:37 am

Sounds like you work there but don’t like it. Why not get a new job? Because they let you surf the web at work?

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

No. As someone who attempts to live an honest life, I detest corruption and the people who enable it. Instead of doing the right thing, the university went in the opposite direction, and now it finds itself on the front page of CNN. Today is a great day toward justice.

swpbbls August 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

“Today is a great day toward justice.”

We can only hope someone will prove the jaded among us wrong.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Another news flash for face. Civil suits are not about “justice”. They are a thinly veiled form of extortion in which the “winners” are the lawyers..

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Sure they are.

CNSYD August 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

So you believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. too?

truthmonger August 13, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Civil suits are often used to force otherwise unobtainable information into the light of public scrutiny. Seen them used that way more than a few times….

Yelsewh August 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

happier face than yours August 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm

If what came out is finally the truth, it is indeed a very good day. But are you suggesting that the university itself tried a coverup? Based on what evidence? It’s a horrible tragedy certainly, and the culpable should and will be punished criminally. It looks like the involved frat twerps were cowardly and then all lied. Until now. Truth probably came out from someone else that heard or saw something in a civil deposition under oath.

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 2:26 pm

It could have offered a bit of compassion to the family and not have fired an administrator who attempted to hold fraternities accountable. That individual had tried to meet with the university president multiple times to express concerns, and she could not get on his calendar. He was able to see her when he felt comfortable in firing her, ostensibly because she was not effective at her job. The president replaced her with someone he knew would ask no questions.

happier face than yours August 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Gail, is that you?

a face in the crowd August 13, 2015 at 8:53 pm

A meeting may not have made a difference, but university administrators have known for a long time that problems existed and that fraternities were essentially unaccountable. When disciplinary actions were taken, parents would call and threaten to withhold donations, file suit, or whatever, which is typical of individuals with a false sense of entitlement.

Scooter August 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Bo, you would twist a dog f–t.

Yelsewh August 13, 2015 at 3:32 pm

The girl in that pic is ridiculously hot.

Rocky Verdad August 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

If I could repeat college – I’d be more sensative. Seems to really work well.


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