Tucker Hipps family settles lawsuit


Tucker Hipps’ family has settled a wrongful death lawsuit, according to court records.

The lawsuit was filed against Clemson University, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and three members of the fraternity.

The fraternity members are Thomas Carter King, Sam Carney and Campbell Starr

The $25 million lawsuit alleged he had been forced to walk along a narrow bridge railing before falling to his death.

Hipps’ family alleged he was hazed during a pre-dawn run involving fraternity members and pledges, and fraternity brothers tried to cover up their role in his death by deleting text messages, phone calls and changing their phone numbers.

The settlement does not say what the amount of the settlement is. There also has to be a hearing before a judge to finalize it.

Hipps’ body was discovered on September 22 in the lake near the Highway 93 bridge by a University police officer after he was reported missing, according to the Oconee County Coroner, Karl Addis.

Addis also said, “With the injury seen, it is consistent with him falling from one of the spans, which is approximately 20 to 23 feet above the water surface. He was found in a depth of water of 4-5 feet. The lake bottom in the area he fell is formed with riprap rock.”

Clemson University officials said, “Tucker was participating in an early-morning group activity run with fraternity members. He didn’t return from the run and wasn’t at breakfast, so they began looking for him. Members of the fraternity contacted the Clemson University Police Department to report him missing at 1:45 p.m. Monday.”

The Hipps family released this statement Thursday evening:

Cynthia and Gary Hipps, the parents of Tucker Hipps, have reached a resolution of their claims with all of the Defendants in the civil lawsuits filed against Clemson University, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the individual Defendants. The agreement between the parties requires court approval and will be considered confidential under the law in South Carolina.

The Hipps would like to take this opportunity to extend their gratitude to the community that has shown steadfast support to their family since Tucker’s death.

The decision to bring a lawsuit is always a difficult one. The search for truth from a senseless tragedy and the need to hold those accountable often necessitate the institution of a lawsuit.

Lawsuits can illuminate the need for change in the darkness that resulted in a loss of life. The Hipps family has hope for the future of other students at college campuses around the country that positive steps towards eliminating hazing have begun to occur and that the greek community will be a safer place for other students as a result of Tucker’s loss of life.

The Hipps family asks for your continued prayers as they continue to work through the devastating loss of their son, Tucker.

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