Trial, testimony underway for deadly 2019 Lake Murray boat crash

Testimony in the trial of a man charged with boating under the influence continued Sept. 14 in Columbia, four years after a collision on Lake Murray resulted in the death of a 68-year-old man and injured the man’s wife and daughter.

Stanley Kiser died in the accident on Sept. 21, 2019, near the Lighthouse Marina off Johnson Marina Road. His wife, Shawn Kiser, lost a leg, and their daughter, Morgan Kiser, was also injured.

Tracy Gordon, of Elgin, is charged with three counts of felony boating under the influence after the crash.

Gordon was driving a cigarette boat when it struck the Kisers’ pontoon boat with all three family members onboard, according to investigators with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

According to police, Gordon was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Due to the amount of time that passed between the crash and authorities testing Gordon, seven hours, Gordon’s blood alcohol content level will not be admitted as evidence in the currently ongoing trial that began on Sept. 11.

Shawn and Morgan Kiser gave emotional testimony on Sept. 12, including the prosecution’s playing of the 911 call made by Morgan after the crash during which she screamed for help.

“They did not t-bone us. They ran over us,” Morgan told The Post and Courier later on Sept. 14. “My dad was literally sliced to pieces … why did they not come back to help?” she said.

Deputy Solicitor Daniel Goldberg called Gordon’s wife, Angie, to the witness stand on Sept. 14, and asked her why she and her husband did not go back to help the Kisers. She replied, telling the court that they saw nearby strangers had already stopped to help, and that they asked whether 911 needed to be called and Morgan said she was already on the phone with them.

Kiser’s wife and daughter both spent the years following the accident spearheading efforts to get legislation on boating safety passed, and founded boating safety education advocacy group Safe the Lake as part of those efforts. As a result the S.C. Boater Education Bill passed earlier this year, requiring all boat operators born after July 1, 2007, to complete safety training administered by DNR.

Attorneys Joe McCullough and Jack Swirling represented Gordon’s defense while Goldberg represented the prosecution under the Fifth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Former defense attorney Heath Taylor is the judge in the case.

“I pray that this will bring more attention and save more lives,” Morgan said.

The trial will continue on Sept. 15 and is expected to run into the following week.

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September 14, 2023 | Post and Courier, The: Columbia Edition (SC)
Author/Byline: T. Michael Boddie | Section: Columbia

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