The local gossip this morning is all about Senator Garrison's grandson, Benjamin Garrison Sprague, found dead on a futon at Clemson fraternity Sigma Nu.
Clemson freshman's body found at fraternity
Autopsy today on Greenville High grad, grandson of longtime lawmaker
Monday, December 10, 2007
By Paul Alongi
STAFF WRITER, Greenville News
An autopsy is expected to be performed today on the body of a Clemson University freshman who was found Sunday morning at an off-campus fraternity house.Fox News Carolina reported last night that there were no signs of a struggle. They also initially reported that Sprague had just pledged the frat within the past week, although that fact seems to have been dropped down the memory hole in both news account I read today. Alcohol poisoning?
The body of Benjamin Garrison Sprague was found lying on a futon at Sigma Nu near Seneca at 7:40 a.m. Sunday, according to Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis.
Srague was a Greenville High graduate and the grandson of longtime state legislator T. Ed Garrison.
Addis said Sprague, a Sigma Nu member, attended a party at the fraternity house Saturday.
Sprague, 18, was the grandson of Garrison, a Democratic state representative and senator from 1959 to 1987.
He was a general engineering major who graduated from Greenville High earlier this year and played center for the Red Raiders' football team, said family friend Jeff Dezen.
"Ben is one of the most brilliant, loving, kind young men I have ever known," Dezen said, "and I have known him since he was a little boy."
Sprague comes from a prominent family, and this story has that telltale Pat Conroy vibe. What really happened? Will we ever know?
Clemson placed Sigma Nu on interim suspension, pending an investigation by its Office of Community and Ethical Standards, Denny said. Sigma Nu's executive director in Lexington, Va., couldn't be reached for comment.My condolences to Benjamin's family; losing a child at Christmastime is particularly horrific.
The Oconee Sheriff's Office is also investigating Sprague's death and has asked for help from the State Law Enforcement Division, said SLED Inspector Richard Hunton. Sheriff James E. Singleton couldn't be reached for comment.
Sprague is the son of Joel and Gaye Sprague of Greenville and has an older brother, Jay, who attends Clemson, Dezen said. Relatives wanted to grieve in private Sunday, he said.
Garrison, the namesake of Clemson's livestock arena, owned Denver Downs Farm for years. His son Bart Garrison, also a Clemson graduate, died in a silo accident on the family's farm in May 1990.
Sprague was an outstanding athlete and scholar, Dezen said. He played on the Red Raiders' soccer team. Greenville County Schools honored him for being one of 12 students who never missed a day of high school.
"In his intelligence, his spirit and his joy for life, Ben Sprague was a giant," Dezen said.
Listening to: Minutemen - Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing