Charge against Clemson student dropped after crash killing son-in-law of former All-American, Hall of Famer

The victim was 68-year-old Robert “Bob” Barrett, a former Clemson professor and retired dean at Lander University
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 9:44 AM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 1:30 PM EDT
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UPDATE (5/26/23): The DUI charge was dropped for the Clemson student arrested in connection with the deadly crash.

CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Police said a man was fatally struck by a student near Clemson University’s campus on March 15.

The crash happened at 8:47 p.m. on Highway 93 near Perimeter Road, which is within the jurisdiction of the Clemson University Police Department. The Pickens County coroner identified the victim as 68-year-old Robert “Bob” Barrett, a former Clemson professor and retired dean at Lander University. He was critically injured in the crash and despite life-saving efforts from first responders, he died at the scene.

Witnesses told police Barrett was crossing the street when he was hit.

Reverend Tommy Wilkes, Senior Pastor of Clemson University Methodist, said Barrett was the son-in-law of former Clemson football and basketball All-American and College Football Hall-of-Famer Banks McFadden.

A Clemson University student was initially arrested in connection with the crash.

According to an incident report from the Clemson University PD, the officer who responded to the crash could smell a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the student’s car. He refused to participate in a field sobriety test or provide a urine sample at the hospital, according to police.

“He appeared to be in shock and his eyes appeared to be glossy and dilated,” the report states.

The charge against the student was later dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence. Clemson municipal court prosecutor Kurt Tavernier said the student was driving in the correct lane and called the accident “unavoidable.”


The reverend said Barrett was a longtime active member of Clemson University Methodist who led a weekly bible study and was involved with Kairos prison ministry. Barrett had just delivered cookies to inmates in Anderson the day before he passed.

“Bob Barrett was an incredible person and a wonderful servant of God,” the reverend said. “He was a leader in so many ways at our church, from serving as the United Methodist Men’s President to leading at every level in the congregation and the district. He was a wonderful father and a loving husband and his presence will be greatly missed in Clemson and at Clemson United Methodist Church. Thankfully, Bob was also a man of Love, Grace and Faith in Christ Jesus. As we all stand in shock by the wake of this tragedy, we continue to stand as people of faith, thankful for the gift of eternal life in Christ and truly thankful for Bob’s positive impact on those of us who remain. Our love, condolences and prayers are with the family.”

According to his obituary, Barrett also served for years with Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. He is survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren.

Barrett worked at Clemson University, Lander University, S.C. State University and Francis Marion University before retiring from Lander University and moving back to Clemson around 2017, according to the Wilkes.

Lander University officials said Dr. Barrett served as the dean of College of Business from 2012 until 2017. The university released the following statement:

“Reflecting on his tenure at Lander, Dr. Barrett’s colleagues will remember his calm, steady leadership, and consistent support of the University’s faculty, staff and students. Bob was always admired for his insightful and constructive mentorship of new faculty members as dean. In addition to Lander, his distinguished academic career of nearly four decades included service at SC State University, where he served as dean of the School of Business and Applied Professional Sciences, and at Francis Marion University, where he served as associate dean for business and associate provost. Dr. Barrett was a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Virginia Tech.”

Lander University

A visitation will be held Sunday, March 19 at Clemson Methodist Church starting at 1:30 p.m. A funeral is to follow at the church at 3 p.m.

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