Alleged Drunk Boater Indicted on Homicide Charges


Update: A Georgia man who was allegedly boating under the influence of alcohol on Memorial Day has been indicted on 10 counts of first-degree homicide by vessel—two for each of the five people who died in a collision. Mark Stegall, 45, is also charged with boating under the influence and six counts of serious injury by vessel, WTOP reports. Authorities say Stegall was on the wrong side of the Wilmington River when he collided with another boat, killing one person in his vessel and four members of a Savannah family—Chris Leffler, 51; his wife, Lori, 50; and their sons Nate, 17, and Zach, 23—in the other boat. Their daughter Katie was the only family member to survive the crash. Our story from May 29 follows:

Five people are dead in an apparent DUI collision between two boats on the Wilmington River in Georgia on Saturday, reports CBS News. The collision occurred around 10:30am Saturday, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, when “two center console boats carrying a total of nine passengers, six in one vessel and three in the other, were traveling in opposite directions when they collided.” Two victims were confirmed dead on Saturday, while three missing victims were found Sunday morning using “sector scan sonar and divers,” per Georgia DNR; they were in 14-foot deep water and in “close proximity to each other.”

The dead are Christopher David Leffler, 51; Lori Lynn Leffler, 50; Zachary James Leffler, 23; Nathan Leffler, 17; and Robert Steven Chauncey, 37. Mark Christopher Stegall, 45, has been charged with boating under the influence. As Savannah Now reports, the Lefflers were a married couple from Savannah with their two sons; the Lefflers’ daughter, Katie, survived the crash. “We love the Leffler family and our hearts are broken,” reads a statement from Calvary Day School, where Chris Leffler was a history teacher and Nate Leffler was a student. “Chris was great at building relationships with students, parents, and peers. He was an outstanding teacher, coach, and he was a friend. Nate, a senior at Calvary Day, had a quiet demeanor, contagious smile and passion for athletics.” (Read more DUI stories.)