An investigation into one of two boat collisions on Lake Murray in which four people died is nearly finished, with the other likely to be completed later, state Department of Natural Resources officials say.
Investigators turned over some of their findings to prosecutors for the wreck in which two women died and are headed toward wrapping up another in which two men died.
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The collisions occurred minutes apart shortly after 10 p.m. May 1 between Susie Ebert and Flotilla islands in a heavily traveled part of the northeast area of the lake.
Officials with DNR remain mum on many aspects of what happened — including who drove the two boats that hit the other two and results of tests for intoxication — until prosecutors at the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office decide whether criminal charges are warranted.
Agency spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough confirmed that one investigation is in its final stages and said the other is progressing.
The investigation nearly completed is for the crash in which friends Kelli Bullard of Lexington and Amber Golden of Woodville, Ala., were killed. They were riding with two men, when their boat was hit by another carrying two couples.
Less than an hour later, Matthew Kyle Howk of Columbia died shortly after the johnboat he was in was struck by another boat carrying three men. Randall Carter of Irmo, also in the johnboat, died a day later. Howk and Carter were on a fishing and camping trip, a relative said.
State troopers who specialize in accident reconstruction are using computerized lasers on damaged watercraft to create an animated reproduction of the collisions.
Investigators haven’t seen those yet, McCullough said.
The length of the investigations is not unusual, given that boat collisions leave little debris and those at night limit vision of witnesses, McCullough said.
“For cases this involved, it’s taken about normal,” he said.
Prosecutors want to see all the findings before deciding on possible charges.
“The investigation is not finished,” assistant solicitor David Ross said.