COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Three men have been charged in connection with two separate deadly boating accidents on Lake Murray back in May, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
DNR has charged Steven Kranendonk and Steven Miller with two counts each of felony boating under the influence. A third man, David Porth, has been charged with boating while intoxicated. DNR officials did not reveal the intoxication levels of the three men.
Officials say Kranendonk was driving the boat where 25-year-old Amber Golden of Woodville, Alabama and 25-year-old Kelly Bullard of Lexington were killed. "She was a special girl to me, as a father you try to fix everything for your children," said Bullard's father Jerry. "This is something I can't fix."
According to a DNR incident report, Kranendonk's 23-foot boat was leaving the Lighthouse Marina around 10:55pm on May 1, headed southeast. At the same time, the 20-foot boat carrying Bullard and Golden was traveling northeast toward the Lake Murray Marina.
Kranendonk told investigators he saw the other boat from about 100 feet away before his boat hit the other boat on the middle of the port (left) side. Bullard and Golden's boat was crushed, and the two women died of head trauma. Two males in the boat were seriously injured.
With tears in their eyes and shaking in their voices, to say the court hearing was emotional is an understatement. "This very special life was cut short be someone who decided to live their life recklessly without consideration of others," said Paula Bullard, Kelli's mother.
Three charged in deadly Lake Murray accidents, details released
In the second accident, DNR says Porth was driving a 23-foot boat which hit Miller's 16-foot boat, which had no lights on. The wreck happened around 11:05pm, about 10 minutes after the first accident. Matthew Howk, 21, and 34-year-old Randall Carter were killed in that wreck.
Steven Miller also cried as his former friends' mothers spoke on his behalf. "Part of it is Steven has to suffer with it for the rest of his life, so I would hope you would be lenient," said one mother.
Kranendonk and Miller were both awarded a $25,000 bond. Even though charges were brought more than 15 weeks after the accident, it does not heal the families' hearts. "I don't think closure is a possibility when you lose a child," said the Bullards. "I just think it's another step."
DNR officers say Porth's blood alcohol content was just above the legal limit. He bonded out on $595.