“The chances of us at this point being able to tell Tucker Hipps’ story are slim, I admit that,” Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw told the Independent Mail on Tuesday.
Hipps, 19, died after falling from a bridge into Hartwell Lake while on a 5:30 a.m. run on Sept. 22. He was with 26 fellow pledges and three members of Clemson University’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Hipps was president of the pledge class, a graduate of Wren High School and was admired for his athleticism, mentoring of younger students and friendly nature.
The sheriff said the surviving 29 fraternity members and pledges have been notably consistent in their account of what happened on Sept. 22.
“We look for inconsistencies, to see if something is the truth,” Crenshaw said. “The inconsistencies are not there.”
Some of the pledges on the run had gone to high school with Hipps and told investigators they had no allegiance to the fraternity over their friend, Crenshaw said.
Polygraphs were also part of the investigation, Crenshaw said, for the first time publicly. He declined to release those results.
Hipps’ parents filed a lawsuit March 30, with allegations that fraternity members had deleted phone information, that fraternity members talked about punishing Hipps and that one member had confronted Hipps over his failure to bring McDonald’s breakfast for fraternity members that morning.
“I don’t know that there was anything in the civil case that we were shocked to see,” Crenshaw said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to confirm or deny allegations in the civil suit. But I can s