Prosecution: CCU student overserved by Conway bar before fatal DUI
A former Conway-area nightclub is facing charges of overserving a former Coastal Carolina football player before he drove off and fatally struck a pedestrian.
American Tavern, which previously operated out of the building currently occupied by Crooked Floor Tavern near the SC 544 freeway, has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the estate of Timothy “Timmy” Shulkcum.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 25, 2020, Riley Patton drove his truck into the median of Highway 544 and hit Shulkcum, according to previous Sun News reports.
Shulkcum, 55, of Myrtle Beach, stood in front of his truck in the median to help his sister, whose car had run out of gas, the lawsuit says.
Patton, who was 23 at the time of the crash, had previously been a long snapper on the CCU football team, according to team records online, and was a graduate assistant to the team at the time, according to the lawsuit.
CCU spokesman Jerry Rashid responded to questions about Patton’s college work history by saying The Sun News should file a Freedom of Information Act request, which a reporter did Monday.
American Tavern, which closed in April 2020, according to documents filed with the SC Secretary of State’s office, was known as “a bar where CCU students – including underage students – could drink excessive amounts of alcohol with very little (if any). ) regulation or oversight by bartenders,” the lawsuit alleges.
Patton arrived at the club already inebriated around 10 p.m. with friends and drank 10 to 15 shots of vodka, in addition to several shots of alcohol. He left around 12:30 p.m. “in an extremely inebriated state” and got behind the wheel of his truck in full view of the tavern employees, the complaint states.
After driving to Shulkcum, Patton fled the scene and stopped at a nearby gas station, where he was arrested by police, who tested his blood alcohol level at 0.163, more than double the limit legal in South Carolina, according to the lawsuit.
Patton is named in the lawsuit, although Liam Duffy, a lawyer for Shulkcum’s estate, noted his inclusion was only a legal necessity and they were only asking the former club for money . Patton’s insurance company previously settled the estate for $100,000, according to court documents.
According to Douglas Jennings, another attorney representing the estate.
“It would be like an insurance company saying they would cover (incidents related to) tequila, but not vodka,” he said, noting that seems contrary to the intent of SC lawmakers. , which passed a law in 2017 requiring all establishment. who serves alcohol must have liability insurance of at least $1 million.
Blake Leek, who was listed in SC business records as a member of the limited liability company that operated American Tavern, did not return a voicemail requesting comment.
Patton’s coordinates could not be located.
Patton, of Knoxville, Tennnessee, was originally charged with a felony DUI causing death, which carries a recommended sentence of 1 to 25 years in prison, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter, according to court records in line.
He was sentenced under the South Carolina Youthful Offender Act to five years in prison suspended to three years of probation with random drug and alcohol testing, according to Tonya Root, a spokeswoman for the Horry County District Attorney’s Office. . Root noted that Shulkcum’s family was fine with the reduced charge.
Marie Carter, Shulkcum’s sister and personal representative of his estate, described her brother as a hardworking, selfless person who “would give you the shirt off his back”.
He served in the US National Guard for more than eight years and held several positions including security guard and truck driver.
“Timmy’s loving presence is missed by his family every day,” Carter said.