Camp death: PCSO turns investigation over to state

Staff Report

PICKENS COUNTY — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has completed its nvestigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a Florida teenager attending Carolina Point – Young Life Camp and turned the investigation over to the state.

Olivia Paige Grimes, 16, of Lakeland, Fla., died July 13 after she fell from a feature at the camp called “Freebird,” on which three riders are seated and attached to a large pendulum swing. The investigation showed that Grimes became unattached and fell between 100 and 120 feet from the swing onto the ground.

The investigation by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that no signs of foul play or criminal intent played a role in the accident. Witness interviews, examination of evidence collected at the scene and the autopsy confirmed the following:

• No indications of a mechanical or structural failure of the swing, equipment or safety gear were detected

• The victim’s harness was not attached to the apparatus when the swing was retracted from the passenger loading platform upon deployment of the swing

• No evidence or information has been discovered that would indicate that the victim contributed to her own death

The ride was being supervised by two members of the camp’s staff when the accident occurred.

On July 15, three representatives from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation accompanied members from the Sheriff’s Office investigative team to the accident site for evaluation.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office was officially informed that the incident fell under South Carolina state jurisdiction after a review of state statutes and their application to the existing rides and courses to include the pendulum swing at the camp.

The Sheriff’s Office has turned all information over to state authorities as the investigation will proceed under their jurisdiction.

The camp, located at 4000 Glady Fork Road on Sassafras Mountain, offers a week-long program targeted for teenage children and provides various team building exercises that consist of but are not limited to courses involving ropes and rides through wooded areas along the mountain side.

The remote area on Sassafras Mountain is divided by the North Carolina and South Carolina state line with portions of the approximate 350-acre facility falling on both sides of the state boundary.

Staff Report

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