UPDATE: Investigation of fatal Beaufort County house party continues


NEWS 3 is learning more on a deadly weekend house party in Beaufort County. Two teens hospitalized at Beaufort Memorial Hospital for intoxication have been treated and released. Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Bob Bromage says they are both 18, but will not release their names due to the ongoing investigation. Bromage says investigators are still working to find whoever provided the alcohol to minors, and criminal charges could follow.

William Thompson, 18, was pronounced dead at the hospital early Sunday morning, after attending the house party at a home on Parris Island Gateway hours before. Thompson was found unresponsive at about 1:30 a.m., according to deputy reports. His legal guardian, deputies, and EMS personnel performed CPR before transporting Thompson.

The Beaufort County School District released this statement: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to William’s family and friends. This is a terrible tragedy, and it’s even more difficult because he was taken from us at such a young age.”

Groups against teen drinking are speaking out after the tragic incident.

“My advice to the students, is to remember the things that they are raised and taught on at home from their parents, or whether it’s mentors or grandparents, or in the church, or school leaders…and that we as a community have to all come together to support our students,” Hilton Head Island High School Principal Amanda O’Nan says.

Her school has groups SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and Impact, who stand for safe choices, against teen drinking and drinking and driving. Several high schools in Beaufort County also conduct things like “prom promise,” advocating against drinking and driving on prom night.

However, these still don’t prevent all house parties, especially with the summer break ahead. Saturday night’s party on the 500 block of Parris Island Gateway came as spring break for students began.

“As the end of the school year approaches, there’s going to be house parties, the prom, events where minors do engage in drinking alcohol,” Capt. Bromage says. “We’re encouraging parents not to have these house parties with alcohol involved because they will be held responsible.”

It’s still unclear where parents were on the night of the party that led to Thompson’s death.

When deputies arrived, they recovered evidence to show there had been drinking. According to deputy reports, one empty bottle of Captain Morgan rum was collected, one empty bottle of Best Damn Root Beer was collected, one empty can of Bud Light was collected, and one empty can of Busch Light was collected. Deputies observed empty beer boxes, and a shot glass.

O’Nan says students should learn from unfortunate events like the party.

“Unfortunately, teenagers and young adults think they’re invincible, and that’s a mindset that’s really hard to change,” she says.

She hopes school staff and parents can send the message to children that they are loved and valued.

“You constantly send that message home and hope that somewhere, they remember that when it is a Friday night and they’re at a party,” she says.

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