4 Lakeside High baseball players expelled after drinking on bus

Four Lakeside High School baseball players were expelled this week for drinking alcohol on a school bus.

The players met with the Columbia County school system hearing officer Tuesday and were given long-term suspensions with the option to the attend the alternative school in Grovetown for the remainder of this school year and the first semester of next school year, schools Superintendent Charles Nagle said Wednesday in an e-mail.

The players were drinking on the bus on their way home from a late game March 9 against South Effingham.

“As the students were exiting the bus and leaving at 1:30 in the morning (March 10), (coaches) discovered that someone had gotten sick,” Lakeside High Principal Steven Rhodes said last week. “The next day, after some kids came forward, they realized that alcohol was involved.”

The following week, school officials suspended the players and called the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Following an investigation, authorities arrested Courtney Devin McIlwain, 23, of Martinez, on March 15 for furnishing the alcohol to a minor, who then gave it to the players.

The players and the 16-year-old Martinez boy who gave them the alcohol each were charged with possession of alcohol by a minor.

Since this incident, the Lakeside team has lost three of four games.

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