Lawsuit alleges ‘party bar’ ran past former CCU football player before fatal accident

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) — A former Conway-area bar is accused of overserving a former Coastal Carolina University football player who was involved in a fatal 2020 crash along Highway 544.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed April 1 by the estate of Timothy Shulkcum lists American Tavern and Riley Patton as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges that on January 24, 2020, Patton arrived with several others at American Tavern, located at 702 Highway 544. The location is now home to Crooked Floor Tavern.

Patton was reportedly a graduate assistant for CCU football at the time and a former long snapper for the club.

The lawsuit described American Tavern as a “bar where CCU students, including underage students, could drink excessive amounts of alcohol with very little (if any) regulation or supervision by bartenders”.

Patton, who was 23 at the time of the incident, was already drunk when he arrived at the bar after “pre-playing” for several hours, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Patton and his friends consumed “10 to 15 shots of vodka” at American Tavern, in addition to several shots of hard liquor.

“While at American Tavern, Patton was extremely intoxicated, visibly intoxicated, and by all accepted standards of safe liquor service (and South Carolina law), he should not have been served. alcohol as he was,” the lawsuit said.

Although visibly intoxicated, Patton drove past the American Tavern security guard and got into his van and drove off, the lawsuit said.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Patton was driving eastbound on Highway 544 near Cabots Creek Drive when he hit the center median and struck a Ford truck and a pedestrian, identified as 55-year-old Timothy Shulkcum.

Shulkcum was pronounced dead at the scene.

The lawsuit alleges that American Tavern’s negligence contributed to Shulkcum’s death. Patton, according to the lawsuit, had a duty to drive his vehicle safely but failed to do so because he was under the influence of alcohol.

Shulkcum’s estate is seeking damages to be determined by a jury.

Patton was initially charged with a DUI felony causing death, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter under South Carolina’s Young Offenders Act, according to the 15th Circuit District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman, Tonya Root.

Patton was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended to three years of probation. He was also ordered to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

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