Boater convicted in deadly crash loses parole bid

tflach@thestate.comJune 4, 2014 

— A boater convicted of reckless homicide in the deaths of two women in a 2010 watercraft collision on Lake Murray lost his initial bid Wednesday for early release from prison.

Without comment, members of the state Board of Paroles and Pardons denied the request of Steven Kranendonk of Irmo to be freed after serving a little more than two years of a 10-year sentence.

The decision came after parents of the women said the tragedy still haunts their families.

“It changes your life forever in ways words cannot express, emotions cannot express,” Paula Bullard of Lexington said.

Her daughter Kelli and friend Amber Golden were cruising with boyfriends before a late-night collision with a boat driven by Kranendonk.

“Everyday it affects our lives,” Yvonne Golden of Huntsville, Ala., said tearfully. “It’s just as vivid today as the day it happened.”

Kranendonk, interviewed separately by board members via video, again apologized for the scars he said the crash has left on the families of the victims as well as his own.

“I pray for each of them multiple times a day,” he said amid sobs. “I certainly hope they can find moments of peace.”

Kranendonk is eligible to be released from prison as soon as spring 2017.

He has been busy while in prison taking job training classes, serving as a musician for religious services and tutoring other inmates in high school equivalency instruction, he told the board.

A blood test taken a few hours after the crash measured Kranendonk’s intoxication at 0.11, above the level of 0.08 considered legal impairment in operation of a vehicle in South Carolina.

The crash in which the two women died was one of two fatal collisions that occurred almost simultaneously on May 1, 2010 near Susie Ebert and Flotilla islands in the northeast corner of the lake.

Criminal charges in the second crash against Steven Miller of the Irmo area are pending.

The four deaths continue to spur law enforcement officers who patrol the 47,500-acre lake to be more conscious of stopping drunken boating, said Ray Lewis, chief state investigator of the crash in which the women perished.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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