Lake Murray boat driver sentenced to 10 years for fatal boat crash

Lake Murray

Driver said he prays for the victim’s family daily

Tracy Gordon of Elgin, SC has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for reckless homicide 4 years after he crashed his boat into another one on Lake Murray. The crash resulted in the death of 68-year-old Stan Kiser.

Kiser’s wife, Shawn Kiser, was seriously injured in the 2019 crash, and had to have one of her legs amputated as a result of those injuries. The couple’s daughter, Morgan Kiser, suffered a head injury.

Gordon and his wife were in their boat and suffered no injuries.

According to the judge, and to SCDNR officials that arrived on the scene the night of the crash, Gordon was drunk. However, some evidence, including Gordon’s blood alcohol test from some time after the crash, were found inadmissible in court due to a technical issue with the search warrant. At the scene, Gordon refused to take a breathalyzer test. He also admitted to drinking “eight beers,” although his wife said he never drank more than three or four while boating.

“You were impaired that night. Very impaired by some measures, but you got lucky with the search warrant,” said Judge Heath Taylor when he handed down the 10-year sentence.

The judge, as well as Kiser’s family, stated they saw no remorse from Gordon, whose lawyers vehemently disagreed, saying he was instructed not to have contact with the Kisers, hindering him from expressing his sorrow to them.

The Gordons did not render aid after the crash on Lake Murray

In court just before being sentenced, however, Gordon did turn to the Kisers and told them that he and his wife pray for them every day.

But Morgan Kiser agreed with the judge, and stated that the night of the crash, Gordon never came back to check on her family, even as she and her mom screamed out for help.

Angie Gordon, the wife of Tracy Gordon, acknowledged that they did not go to help, but explained that she thought their presence would make matters worse.

“With the screaming and hollering coming from the (Kiser’s) boat, it was terrifying. I was just in disbelief. I was in shock. I thought if I went over there, I would just make it worse for whoever was screaming,” Angie Gordon said. “I was hysterical, crying in our boat, because I didn’t actually know what happened. And then I could hear her just screaming and screaming and saying at the end her dad was dead. So it terrified me.”

She added that her husband got his phone and asked if they should call 911. But by then, strangers had already stopped to help the Kisers, and one of them was already on the phone with authorities.

SCDNR Lance Corporal Stephen Bryant responded to the crash the night of the incident. He testified in court that Gordon’s breath and body smelled like alcohol.

Gordon’s attorney pointed out that no empty beer cans or bottles were found in the boat. He also said Gordon failed to see Kiser’s boat because, in their opinion, the lights on Kiser’s boat were not working. No evidence was presented to back up this claim, and investigators testified their findings about the lights were inconclusive.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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