Four Charged After Prank Victim Dies On Drunken Drive Home

2:12 PM, Sep 21, 2007   |    comments
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Columbia, SC --  Four people were charged with assault after authorities said they wrote sexually explicit statements on a 20-year-old man who passed out at a party and later died in a drunken driving crash.

Griffen James Lollis became angry when he woke up around midnight May 16 and realized other people at the party had written sexually explicit and graphic statements on his abdomen, chest, face and legs using what appeared to be a black permanent marker, authorities said.

Lollis later tried to drive home and died from a head injury after being ejected from his pickup truck in Greenville County, Deputy Coroner Ken Coppins said.

Lollis had a blood-alcohol level of 0.267 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit for driving of .08 percent, Coppins said.

Alcohol and prescription drugs also were in the car, he said.

Later Wednesday, authorities charged four people -- Andrew Charles "Drew" Argo, 21, of Honea Path; Hali Elizabeth Holliday, 21, of Anderson; Winford Lee Lamb, 24, of Honea Path; and James Larry Ridge Jr., 21, of Honea Path -- with assault and battery.

Argo also has been charged with transfer of alcohol to a person under 21.

All four were released on bond Thursday. They each face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine if convicted.

Coppins said an autopsy report did not specifically say what messages or drawings were on Lollis' body when he died.

According to a police report, there were several drawings of portions of the male anatomy, as well as the words "Poor Baby" and several sexually explicit phrases.

The partygoers decided to write on Lollis with the marker "because they always do that to the first person that passes out," the incident report said.

Based on some of the messages written on his body, Lollis' sister became concerned that her brother may have been sexually assaulted, although authorities said they had no evidence that occurred.

Authorities started investigating this summer after Lollis' sister, who was not identified, contacted the prosecutor's office.

While the investigation of the party and Lollis' death is continuing, Greenwood County Chief Deputy Mike Frederick said he was shocked at the group's lack of concern for their friend's well-being.

"This group of binge drinkers let him go off like a loaded gun," Frederick said. "Common sense tells you, if this guy was your friend, you don't prop him up against his car, drunk and leave the keys there. ... There were literally a dozen times somebody could have stepped up."

Associated Press

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