Two Lexington County men were charged today with felony boating while intoxicated, and a third with boating while intoxicated, in connection with a pair of May 1 boat collisions on Lake Murray in which four people died, authorities said.
State natural resources officials identified those charged as:
Steven Kranendonk with two counts of felony BUI. He was driving the boat that killed two women.
Steven Miller with two counts of felony BUI. He was driving the johnboat in which two men were killed after being struck by another watercraft.
David Porth with boating while intoxicated. He was driving the boat that struck the johnboat.
Further information on the three was not immediately available. Authorities also declined to reveal the intoxication levels of the three.
The three are expected to be arraigned later today.
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 declined to explain why Porth faces a lesser charge than Miller.
“At this time, we’re not going to get into that,” agency spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough said. “Some aspects of the investigation remain.”
Terri Carter of Greenville, stepmother of one of the victims in the johnboat, said the family was told that the vessel did not have on its navigation lights as required for operation after sunset.
More charges of less serious nature are possible, he said.
Penalties for felony BUI include a fine of up to $25,000 and from one to 25 years in prison, officials said.
Penalties for BUI include a fine of up to $475, up to 30 days in jail and loss of boating privileges until completion of safety training, officials said.
In the first collision, friends Kelli Bullard of Lexington and Amber Golden of Woodville, Ala., were killed while cruising the lake.
Less than an hour later, Matthew Kyle Howk of Columbia died shortly after the johnboat in which he rode was struck. Randall Carter of Irmo, also in the johnboat, died a day later.
Howk and Carter were on a fishing and camping trip, relatives said.
State troopers who specialize in accident reconstruction used computerized lasers on damaged boats to create an animated reproduction of the collisions, a first in South Carolina, as part of the investigation into each boating collision.