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Boater charged in river collision that killed three in March

Matthew Edward Ferster


     Murder charges have been served on a Brunswick County man involved in a violent two-boat collision on the Waccamaw River that claimed the lives of three Columbus County residents.

     Matthew Edward Ferster, 33, of Shallotte, indicted by a Brunswick County grand jury last week, was arrested by a NC Wildlife Resources Commissioner officer Monday and charged with three counts of second degree murder.

     Ferster is charged in the deaths of Garrett Smith, 21, of Clarendon; Megan Allison Lynn, 21, of Whiteville and Jennifer Elizabeth Hayes, 37, of Chadbourn; in the March 29 collision on the Waccamaw River near the Pireway landing.

     Ferster was operating an 18.5 foot Skeeter boat, heading downriver on a warm March Sunday afternoon, not long before North Carolina’s stay at home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic was issued, when he collided with a 15-foot Dixie boat operated by Travis Reed Suggs, 25, of Tabor City.

     All three who died were passengers on Suggs’ boat. Smith was thrown from the craft, his body not recovered until a week later, just hours before the funeral of his girlfriend, Lynn.

     Suggs and his sister, Anna Suggs, suffered minor injuries.

     Neither Ferster nor a male passenger in his boat were injured.

     For more on this story see the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.