Man gets 5 years for role in death after 2010 USC football game - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Man gets 5 years for role in death after 2010 USC football game

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Curtis Simms in court on Tuesday. (Source: LaDonna Beeker) Curtis Simms in court on Tuesday. (Source: LaDonna Beeker)
Allen M. Gasque Allen M. Gasque
Curtis Simms Curtis Simms
The truck involved in the incident. The truck involved in the incident.

After five days of testimony, a Richland County jury came to a split decision in the trial of a man investigators said caused the death of another man outside Williams-Brice Stadium following the South Carolina Gamecocks' historic win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in October 2010.

Curtis Simms, 27, will spend the next five years in prison for his role in a fight that ultimately ended with 20-year-old Allen M. Gasque of Marion being run over by a truck on Shop Road. Gasque later died at the hospital.

Judge Diane Goodstein handed down a 10-year sentence with 5 years suspended after the jury found Simms guilty of aggravated breach of peace. Simms was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, but he was found not guilty on that charge.

Simms' attorney said his team's primary goal was to get an acquittal on the involuntary manslaughter charge. "Curtis never felt that he should be held legally responsible for the death of Mr. Gasque," said Johnny Gasser. "We just felt that a number of people were at fault, including Mr. Gasque."

Gasque's mother asked Goodstein for the maximum sentence during a statement she gave in court on behalf of the family.

"Your honor, we ask that you please give Mr. Simms the maximum sentence allowed for his crime," said Regina Gasque. "When he gets out, he'll be able to go home to his family. Unlike Martin, who will never be able to come home to his family."

"He was so excited about going to one of the most exciting football games in Columbia," said Gasque. "Before he left, he slid in my bed, smiled at me and acted like he had the time in the world for his mom. He told me and his daddy that he loved us."

It was a call from the Richland County Sheriff's Department she remembered stating that he was in an accident. "My mother's intuition kicked in, and I knew something was wrong."

"Please do not let another parent go through the hell that we've gone through," concluded Gasque.

Simms stood up and spoke directly to both families before he learned his sentence. 

"I would like to apologize to Mr. and Mrs. Gasque for the loss of your son," said Simms. "Mom and Dad, I'm sorry, and thank you for your support."

The sentence comes almost two years and four months after the incident which occurred during what was supposed to be a celebratory environment outside Williams-Brice Stadium. 

Just hours after South Carolina beat No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 9, the sea of garnet and black along Shop Road was bathed in blue lights as emergency crews were called upon to help save a man's life.

Crews found Gasque around 9 p.m. at 1054 Shop Road with severe head injuries.

Richland County authorities say a "road rage" fight preceded Gasque's death. According to deputies, a car was trying to merge into traffic on Shop Road when Gasque and Simms, who was 25 at the time, got into an argument. 

Gasque and Simms got out of the separate vehicles they were riding in and began fighting, according to investigators. During the fight Simms hit Gasque, who ended up on the ground.

It's not clear whether the blow actually led to Gasque's fall. But he was still down when the driver of the truck he'd been in tried to pull off the road, unaware his friend was in front of the truck. 

"It wasn't something where he was speeding off or he made a jerk turn," said deputies in 2010. "He just was trying to ease off the side of the road. It's my understanding he was at a slow rate of speed."

Gasque suffered fatal head injuries. He was transported to Palmetto Health Richland where emergency personnel were unable to save him.

Officials say Gasque and Simms never actually attended the game, but they both attended parties outside the stadium.

No one else was charged.

Simms, who faced up to 15 years in prison on both charges, will get credit for time served. After finishing his prison sentence, he will be on probation for three years.

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