Sheriff: Investigators may not solve Clemson teen’s death

Tucker Hipps

ANDERSON, S.C. — The Oconee County sheriff says investigators may not be able to solve the case of a Clemson University fraternity pledge who fell to his death last year.

Sheriff Mike Crenshaw told the Anderson Independent-Mail on Tuesday that he thinks the chances are slim that officials will determine what caused 19-year-old Tucker Hipps’ death.

Hipps fell from a bridge into Hartwell Lake while on a 5:30 a.m. run Sept. 22. Hipps was with 26 other pledges and three members of Clemson University’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Crenshaw said the story that fraternity members and pledges told investigators have been consistent.

“We look for inconsistencies, to see if something is the truth,” Crenshaw said. “The inconsistencies are not there.”

Crenshaw said investigators have used lie detector tests, although he would not release the results of the tests.

He said a forensic pathologist found no evidence that Hipps was held by his ankles over the bridge. There were no signs of a physical struggle. Investigators do not know whether Hipps fell, was pushed, or was coerced to try to jump the eight-and-a-half foot span between the twin bridges or tried to jump down.

A coroner and a pathologist have concluded that Hipps died of a traumatic brain injury but they don’t know how that happened. .

Hipps’ parents sued last month, seeing $25 million from three fraternity leaders, Clemson University and the local and national branches of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.


Information from: Anderson Independent-Mail,