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Tucker Hipps (1995-2014), Clemson University Sigma Phi Epsilon Pledge Died Under Suspicious Circumstances


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I doubt anyone here has heard about the death of Tucker Hipps, but Hipps was a pledge in my very own fraternity at Clemson University, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and the circumstances of his death have been, to put it kindly, "suspicious."

I found out about it several months ago, and it made no sense then:

Apr 1, 2015 - "Clemson University Student Killed After Fight With Fraternity Brothers About McDonald's Breakfast: Suit" by Jason Silverstein on nydailynews.com

It didn't make any sense then, and it made even less sense as the weeks and months passed without any news - people were apparently out for a morning jog at 5:30 AM, and, as the story went, Hipps (a very fit young man) supposedly fell behind during the run, and nobody even noticed he hadn't returned. He was found in Lake Hartwell, just under the Highway 93 bridge - it's wide-open highway, and there's *no way* that someone in a group of runners is going to simply disappear. There was something very wrong with this story, but nobody was saying anything.

Aug 8, 2015 - "New Witness Says Clemson Frat Pledge Died After Being Forced To Walk Railing" by Jordan Sargent on gawker.com

This really resonated with me, because the one time in my life when I came closest to dying, was when I was out four-wheeling with some friends - the fuel line got pinched, and we all had to walk back. It was either 1) walk an extra five miles or so through dense woods, or 2) walk across a train trestle which was very near the bridge where Hipps was found (you can see it on top of the map below - the rectangle on the left side of the water is a rocky outcrop, descending 10, 20, 30 feet down - it was the most dangerous part). The trestle was about 1/4-mile long, and if a train had come, it would have meant jumping about 60 feet into water which is often shallow and rocky - I thumbed my nose at the devil that day, and lived to tell about it, but whenever anyone asks me, "What's the closest you've ever come to dying," I tell them this story of stupidity, foolishness, and peer pressure. To this day, I cannot believe I risked my life by doing this - one thing about walking across a train trestle: there's about six inches of space between each tie, and you can't sprint; you have to essentially tip-toe (at high speed, needless to say).

I strongly suspect there is a widespread cover-up about the death of Tucker Hipps, and much more will trickle out as the stool pigeons start to sing, one-by-one:

Feb 4, 2015 - "Clemson Sig Ep Suspended For Five Years Following Pledge's Death Last Semester" by Bogey Wells on archive.totalfratmove.com

A five-year suspension for a local chapter is pretty much of a death sentence, and this is probably as it should be.

It's all so needless, and very, very sad. To the Hipps family: If you ever find and read this, I hope you find peace and resolution to this senseless tragedy, and that you manage to make some good come out of this terrible situation. This, even though nothing will ever bring back your son.


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Feb 14, 2015 - "Getting the Call: How Tucker Hipps' Loved Ones Got the News" by Harrison Cahill on thestate.com

Aug 14, 2015 - "New Clues in Death of Clemson Fraternity Pledge Tucker Hipps" by Sara Ganim on cnn.com

Jun 8, 2016 - "'Tucker Hipps' Bill Becomes Law" by Gavin Jackson on postandcourier.com

Aug 17, 2017 - "Clemson, Hipps Family Release Joint Statement after Lawsuit Settlement Reached" by Dal Kalsi on foxcarolina.com

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