HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WSAV) – A homecoming celebration for the start of summer turned tragic with a 21-year-old Hilton Head High School graduate and University of South Carolina senior dead, and his friend now facing felony drunken driving charges after an accident late Saturday night.
It happened at 1:40 a.m. as the two drove down William Hilton Pkwy near Matthew Drive. Austin Mcloud was in the passenger’s seat and 22-year-old Jack Minesiotis driving under the influence, according to SCHP.
Minesiotis hit a curb and the car flipped. Mcloud wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car. He was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Savannah where he died from sustained injuries.
Aaron Brooks Davis was one of the friends with Mcloud that night. A best bud of seven years who ran track with him at Hilton Head High.
“We were hanging out that night, it was a really good night… I was just only 30 seconds behind his wreck, I thought they took a left turn… he never answered the phone, I called him 10 times, I thought I saw smoke so I drove back, that’s when I saw all the emergency vehicles there and my heart sank,” Davis said.
It was his first day back home for summer after completing his junior year at the University of South Carolina.
“He was really smart, was making great grades in college, was going to go into marketing… He was really motivated, was a good athlete, great at swimming. He was good at running too and he had a lot of friends,” said Davis.
Minesiotis faces felony drunken driving resulting in death and open container charges. This following a traffic record of four speeding and reckless driving violations—the last being in Bluffton just four days before the accident Saturday night, according to court records.
Both Mcloud and Minesiotis graduated from Hilton Head High and Mcloud has a brother just weeks away from graduating there as well. Principal Amanda O’Nan said the whole school mourned a loss today.
“We’re a small island and everybody’s connected… These families had the all-American dream at their fingertips and had wonderful children… their life will be changed forever,” she said.
“As a mom that you want to do the best you can, but not even my own children will be immune to something like this.”
O’Nan said she hopes it might change somebody’s decision down the road.