Local

Speed may have been a factor in fatal Lake Murray crash, agency says

DNR investigator talks boating safety and investigative process after accidents

Ben Thomas, an investigator from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, talks about the investigative process after boating accidents and shares some tips on boating safety.
Up Next
Ben Thomas, an investigator from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, talks about the investigative process after boating accidents and shares some tips on boating safety.

The principal of a Columbia auto dealership is listed as a driver in last weekend’s fatal boat crash on Lake Murray, and investigators believe speed may have been a factor with both vessels, the investigating agency said Wednesday.

Bruce Dyer, 56, of Irmo, was driving the 32-foot-long Intrepid powerboat that collided with a 16-foot bass boat in Lake Murray on Friday, killing two of the three people in the bass boat, according to an incident report released Wednesday by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Danny Phillips, 37, of Columbia, and 28-year-old Shawn Lanier of Blythewood, died of blunt force trauma from injuries related to the crash, officials have said.

The incident report lists Dyer’s employer as Dick Dyer Toyota. The Better Business Bureau lists Dyer as president of the company.

The circumstances of the crash are still under investigation, but officers believe speed may have been a factor for both boats, according to Capt. Robert McCullough, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.

“Speed will be a factor in it,” he said. “I don't know if it's going to be a cause or not.”

The collision happened just after 11 p.m. Friday in an area of the lake north of Dreher Island, a state park.

Investigators are still awaiting results of toxicology testing on Phillips before making a determination on whether alcohol was a factor. McCullough said earlier this week that Dyer passed a field sobriety test shortly after the crash, and that he was not asked to submit a blood or breath sample because there was no probable cause.

“You would look for a strong odor of alcohol, failing the field sobriety test, a lot of empty liquor bottles – those kinds of things,” he said. “When you have those, you can build a case for that. There was none of that in this case.”

McCullough said investigators hope to determine by the beginning of next week what charges, if any, will be brought in the case.

Dyer told officers he saw “a green light” before the crash, according to the incident report.

McCullough said boats have a red light and green light on the front ends, and investigators believe the green light Dyer referred to was the light on the front of Phillips’ boat. McCullough said investigators are still trying to determine the angle at which the boats collided.

The officer wrote in the report that he documented the damage to both vessels, including Dyer’s blue and white speedboat named “Macdaddy Intrepid.” However, details about the damage were not included.

Efforts to reach Dyer by phone Wednesday were unsuccessful.

  Comments