Parents Allege Cover-Up in Son's Death at Clemson

Tucker Hipps died while pledging a fraternity
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2015 2:42 PM CDT
Parents Allege Cover-Up in Son's Death at Clemson
A 2012 photo of Tucker Hipps while still in high school, with his football coach.   (AP Photo/Anderson Independent Mail, Nathan Gray)

The parents of a Clemson freshman who died last fall under still-unexplained circumstances while pledging a fraternity say they've waited long enough for answers. Gary and Cindy Hipps have sued Clemson, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and three members of the frat for $50 million, reports CBS News. Their two lawsuits allege that a confrontation took place between their son, Tucker, and a frat member on a bridge before he fell to his death. They also allege that members of the frat have erased text messages to that effect. "I guess you can call that a cover-up," says Gary Hipps. This much is known: On Sept. 22, 2014, Tucker and about two dozen other pledges went out for an early morning run with three frat members. Tucker never returned to campus, and he was reported missing that afternoon.

The lawsuits allege that one frat member confronted Tucker on a bridge over the Seneca River because he had failed to pick up McDonald's breakfasts for everyone as ordered, reports the State of Columbia. The lawsuits do not say how Tucker went over the bridge, only that he did so and landed on rocks. Nobody on the group run claims to have seen the fatal plunge, which the Hipps find hard to believe. They say they're not interested in money and won't consider a settlement that would keep the circumstances of their son's death private. “We’re not going to do anything that will disallow us to tell the truth,” says Cindy Hipps. “I’d like us to have our day in court.” (More Clemson stories.)

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