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Crime & Courts

Follow-Up File: More Information On Former Hammond Headmaster’s Arrest

Chris Angel addresses his “citation …”

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Over the weekend, we reported on the arrest of Christopher Brent Angel – the former headmaster of South Carolina’s prestigious Hammond School and the current head of the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Angel, 52, was charged by agents of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) with two counts of boating under the influence and one count of recklessly operating a watercraft in connection with an incident that took place last Friday (June 9, 2023).

According to TWRA agents, the incident involving Angel took place on the Nickajack Reservoir of the Tennessee River – part of the government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system. Arresting officers indicated Angel was operating a pontoon boat at “planing speed” – a.k.a. the speed at which the forward velocity of the watercraft is sufficient to elevate its hull out of the water.

Angel was observed “towards the helm of the vessel with his right hand on the steering wheel and out away from behind the helm of the steering wheel,” leaving him without “full control of the vessel’s throttle controls,” according to TWRA’s incident report.

This “rendered the safety of the occupants at risk if there were to be an incident causing the operator to fall over and lose control,” the report continued.

Once the boat was pulled over, officers noted three empty beer cans in the boat – and observed Angel speaking very slowly and with slurred speech. Angel admitted to consuming the three beers and was administered “several” field sobriety tests – all of which he allegedly failed.



Angel sent an email on Sunday to school faculty, staff and parents to make them “aware of a situation that is quickly becoming public.”

“On Friday afternoon, I was cited by Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officials for unsafely operating a pontoon boat while with my wife and another couple,” Angel wrote. “I accept full responsibility for my actions and have learned a valuable lesson from this situation; however, please know that I was not operating the boat unsafely.”

“As I move forward through this process, I want to assure you that I understand the responsibility I have to Baylor School, our faculty, students, and families to conduct myself in a professional manner both on and off campus,” Angel’s statement continued. “While I regret the distraction this will cause for us, know that I remain committed to the values of Baylor School. I have full faith in our legal system, and I look forward to a full and fair resolution of this matter.”

Curiously, Angel’s statement did not reference his arrest for boating under the influence. Nor did it explain his contention that he was “not operating the boat unsafely.”

In addition to Angel’s statement, Baylor released an unattributed statement of support for its headmaster.

“The school was immediately advised by Mr. Angel of this incident,” the statement noted. “The school stands behind Mr. Angel and is confident that this matter will be favorably resolved. Since this is a legal matter that will be handled by the court, the school will not be issuing any further statements or comments.”

The unattributed school statement was provided to the media by Baylor’s director of external affairs, Barbara Kennedy.

Angel was Hammond’s headmaster from 2009-2021 and the leader of its upper school head from 2002-2009. He has been head of school at Baylor since July 2021.



Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.



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Anonymous June 14, 2023 at 2:28 pm

The endorsement of drunk boating by Baylor School speaks volumes. Let’s also remember the high school kids who admire their headmaster are watching…

Nanker Phelge June 14, 2023 at 4:28 pm


CongareeCatfish Top fan June 14, 2023 at 4:42 pm

Who in this state did this poor guy piss off such as to merit a public shaming like this even after he has left S.C. for Tennessee two years ago? Pulled because he wasn’t standing fully behind the steering console, but instead just to the left while his right hand was still on the steering wheel? And that led to it being noticed that he drank 3 beers and pinged positive on a breathylizer- but he didn’t cause a penny of property damage, never actually harmed a hair on a single person’s head, and apparently was in no outward threat to do so? You just described described half the boaters on the water in this state on any given summer weekend. Should they all lose their jobs too? I have no idea who this dude is, but I can’t help feel some sympathy for this guy – sure he deserves a citation & fine, but not a ruined career. If he actually did some kind of harm, then this would be a different story. And no, its not an “endorsement” for the school to say we’re gonna let the legal situation play itself out under these circumstances -oftentimes the legal punishment is punishment enough if there is no obvious moral turpitude involved.

Anonymous June 15, 2023 at 1:52 pm

He was principal to thousaunds of rich columbia citizens. Its news whether you like it or not. Im an avid boater and agree with your thoughts on the boatingf aspect.

Bob June 14, 2023 at 11:31 pm

Man I remember Bill Folks being one of the biggest discipline problems hammond has ever seen. Didnt he get kicked out? Asked to leave?

Anonymous June 14, 2023 at 11:33 pm

Now that I think about it there was definitely controversy, I just cant remember what they were. i just remember no one in his grade would talk to him. Skyhawks jump in here.

Emily Reynolds Top fan June 15, 2023 at 9:05 am

I cannot figure out how this is “update” or “follow-up” worthy. He no longer lives in SC. No one died. His reputation and ego is bruised enough where he currently lives. You all did a good job reporting throughout the Murdaugh saga where it seemed your staff had a true investigators slant in uncovering details that were not being reported by mainstream media. This feels personal and unnecessary. And is definitely not worth the monthly subscription cost.


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