The State Law Enforcement Division is assisting in the investigation of a fatal boat crash on Lake Murray earlier this month.
Jimmy Gene Ayers, 57, died after his 18-foot bass boat crashed into a dock at Wessinger Island on the Chapin side of the lake on Aug. 13. The crash injured his 22-year-old nephew, who also was on board.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources asked SLED to conduct forensic testing on evidence from the crash, according to Capt. Robert McCullough, a DNR spokesman. McCullough would not say what SLED is analyzing.
“There's no skid marks (in the water),” McCullough said of investigating boat crashes. “You're not able to go back and look. It changes every second when you're out there.”
Details about what caused the crash, including who was operating the boat, are still under investigation. Officials have said alcohol appears to have been a factor in the collision but did not say specifically what led investigators to suspect alcohol.
Ayers died of traumatic injuries to the upper body that appeared to be caused by the boat’s windshield, the Lexington County Coroner’s Office has said.
Ayers’ nephew, who was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, is cooperating with law enforcement, McCullough said.
It is not uncommon for the Department of Natural Resources to ask for SLED’s help in investigating boat crashes, McCullough said, estimating that SLED’s forensics lab assists in about a fourth of their investigations.