A fatal boat crash on the Wateree River this past May has some similarities to the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach when Paul Murdaugh, son of disgraced attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, was driving. The similarities? Drunken underage boat driver, a relative with some political power in the area, the sale of alcohol to a minor, and an attempt at a coverup.
That’s what is alleged by the parents of 15-year-old Chase Newman, who died at the scene of the May 5, 2023 crash on the Wateree River. They have filed a lawsuit against several parties. The crash involved a group of friends in two separate boats, which collided near Pine Tree Creek.
Zachary Cameron was driving the boat Newman was in when the collision occurred. One of the first officials on the scene was David West, the Kershaw County Coroner, who is also the granddad of Cameron.
Newman’s parents have alleged that Cameron was drunk, and that West intervened with law enforcement officials who arrived later, telling them that he had checked for alcohol, and that none was involved. He also allegedly advised the boat parties to get rid of any evidence of alcohol in both boats.
Aside from suing Cameron, Newman’s parents are also suing Trent Mathis, the driver of the boat that crashed into the boat Newman was riding in. Five convenience stores are also targets of the lawsuit for selling alcohol to Cameron, who was younger than 21.
No one was arrested at the scene, in large part due to West’s position as coroner, and in the way he inserted himself into the investigation and convinced law enforcement that his grandson had done no wrong, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also states that in the weeks following the crash, Cameron “discussed how drunk he was on the night Newman lost his life.”