No charges filed in Lake Murray boating deaths

Phillips

Lanier

BLYTHEWOOD – No charges will be filed in last month’s boat crash that took the lives of two Blythewood men, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources announced in a report last week.

The Eleventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office opted not to file charges against Bruce Dyer, in relation to the April 21 boat crash on Lake Murray that killed longtime friends Danny Phillips, 37, and Blythewood’s Shawn Lanier, 28.

In a report, investigators said they determined Phillips was at fault in the crash, which happened about 11 p.m., April 21, just north of Dreher Island.

Dyer, the President of Dick Dyer Toyota in Columbia, “willingly handed over his GPS to SCDNR Officers,” according to the Department of Natural

Resources report.

Officers used Dyer’s GPS to determined the speed and navigational track of his boat. Along with the GPS data, and eyewitness statements, it was determined that Phillips’ boat failed to give way to Dyer’s, and while Dyer was attempting to avoid a collision, made a sharp turn that caused his wife and another passenger to go overboard.

After the incident, Dyer assisted his passengers from the water, before he secured his vessel and called for help. Then, he shined his spotlight in the direction of the bass boat.

The investigation has determined Dyer’s speed was not excessive, nor was there any erratic operation of his vessel. Therefore, no reckless homicide or operating charges are appropriate with regard to the center console boat.”

According to the newspaper report, McCullough said Dyer admitted to having ‘a few beers over the course of five or six hours.’ He was given a nystagmus eye test and the remaining tests were conducted on the dock about two hours after the crash, McCullough said.

The State also reported that, in a separate May 2010 boat crash on the lake, Steven Kranendonk also passed field sobriety tests, according to testimony in his 2012 trial. But five hours after the crash that killed two women, a blood test found Kranendonk with an alcohol reading of 0.11. That’s higher than the state’s 0.08 level to be considered legally impaired.

Kranendonk was convicted of reckless homicide and sentenced to 10 years, The State reported that, in order for a reckless homicide charge to be filed, the person must have been operating the boat in such a manner as to indicate either a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. “

Ashley Thomas Wannamaker, the sole survivor from Phillips’ boat, has filed a suit against Dyer and claimed that Dyer was negligent.

In his suit, Wannamaker contends that Dyer was grossly negligent by driving too fast, driving under the influence and failing to yield the right of way.

 

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