from 12AM to 9AM Tuesday for Buncombe, Henderson & Madiso Counties. Temperatures in the low to mid 30s could damage plants and vegetables.
PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. -- The family of Tucker Hipps, the Clemson University student, who died during an early-morning run last September, filed suit against Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and several of its members as well as Clemson University.
The family is seeking more than $25 million in actual damages and punitive damages, according to the suit filed in Pickens County Court of Common Pleas on Monday.
The suit alleged Hipps had an argument with a Sig Ep brother on the morning he died.
According to the complaint, brothers told Hipps to bring McDonald's biscuits, hash browns, and chocolate milk to the fraternity hall before meeting up for a run along S.C. Highway 93 with 26 other pledges at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 22.
One of the brothers, named in the suit, and Hipps allegedly “had a confrontation over the pledges’ failure to bring the breakfast.”
The suit then said, “Tucker subsequently went over the railing of the bridge into the shallow waters of Lake Hartwell head first.”
The documents alleged that forcing pledges to jump off bridges into Lake Hartwell is a “tradition” and one of the brothers “shined the flashlight on his cell phone into the dark waters” looking for Hipps.
According to the suit, brothers and pledges didn’t collectively begin searching for Hipps until around 11:15 a.m. and didn’t call campus police until 1:15 p.m.
One pledge allegedly told Hipps’ girlfriend that Hipps “had been seen in the library” in order to “buy time” and prevent Hipps’ girlfriend from calling her parents about his disappearance.
The documents said pledges were texting the brother, who argued with Hipps, and questioning “why he was shining his flashlight in the woods, asking if something more happened, and asking why he waited on one side of the bridge.”
Group text messages between brothers and all 30 Sig Ep pledges were allegedly deleted and brothers, named in the suit, were accused of deleting their call histories and changing phone numbers.
Drugs and alcohol were not found in Hipps’ system, according to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division toxicology report attached to the suit.
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