5 dead, 4 injured after Memorial Day weekend boat crash on Ga. river

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. — Five people have died after two boats crashed into each other on Georgia’s Wilmington River, a Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesperson said.

According to DNR, game wardens were called to a boat crash on the Wilmington River near the Oatland Island Wildlife Center docks where Richardson Creek and the Wilmington River meet in Chatham County at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

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Witnesses said two center console boats were going in opposite directions when they crashed into one another. The boats had a total of nine people on board. Six were in one boat and three in another.

Two of the victims were confirmed dead on the scene and three others were missing. The bodies of those three people were found at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The victims who died in the crash were identified as:

  • Christopher David Leffler, 51, of Savannah
  • Lori Lynn Leffler, 50, of Savannah
  • Zachary James Leffler, 23, of Alpharetta
  • Nathan Leffler, 17, of Savannah
  • Robert Steven Cauncey, 37, of Savannah

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the four Lefflers who died in the crash were all family members.

The other four passengers were injured and taken to Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah. Their current conditions are unknown.


Mark Christopher Stegall, 45, of Savannah, has been arrested and charged with boating under the influence.

DNR says the incident is under investigation, which could take between six and eight weeks.

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