Mom reflects on anniversary of deadly 2019 Lake Jordan boating crash

Mom speaks one year after deadly boating crash on Lake Jordan

LAKE JORDAN, Ala. (WSFA) - The Independence Day weekend promises to be a tough one for several Elmore County families. You may remember the story; two people killed while five other were injured on Lake Jordan in 2019.

A man has since convicted in the case involving the tragedy on July 4, 2019.

‘We take it day by day. They called us and said Clay had been knocked out of the boat,” Leslie Fuller remembered.

She got the call her 26-year son, Clay Jackson, was gone. He was one of two people killed in the boating crash on the lake. The other death was that of Travis House, just 17.

Photos of Clay Jackson, one of two victims killed when boats collided on Lake Jordan on the night of July 4.
Photos of Clay Jackson, one of two victims killed when boats collided on Lake Jordan on the night of July 4. (Source: Leslie Fuller)

Jackson and House, along with five others were in one boat when another vessel slammed into them. The driver of the other boat, Damion Bruno, 41, was sentenced in February to 30 years in prison.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless murder. Court records show Bruno had been drinking. During his sentencing, he tearfully apologized to the families involved.

“When we went to court, we forgave him,” said Fuller. Meanwhile, she says, a civil suit that was filed in the case is now in the process of being settled.

In her garage, Fuller has a corner dedicated to the memory of her son.

Clay Jackson's mother created a small memorial for him in a corner of her garage. Jackson and Travis House, 17, were killed in a boating crash on July 4, 2019 on Lake Jordan.
Clay Jackson's mother created a small memorial for him in a corner of her garage. Jackson and Travis House, 17, were killed in a boating crash on July 4, 2019 on Lake Jordan. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

One particular relic will always stand the test of time. It’s the watch Clay was wearing the night he died. It still works, still ticks, despite being underwater on her loved one’s arm for two grueling days.

“It still works. We just wanted to keep it and make some memories of what he had left,” his mother explained.

Clay Jackson's mother keeps the watch he was wearing when he was killed on Lake Jordan on July 4, 2019. Though framed, it still works despite being underwater for two days.
Clay Jackson's mother keeps the watch he was wearing when he was killed on Lake Jordan on July 4, 2019. Though framed, it still works despite being underwater for two days. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The memorial also includes includes the last photo taken of the father of two on the day he died. It helps the family deal with the occasional waves of grief.

“You never think about it happening in your family. It hits very close to home,” said Jackson’s sister, Ashley Minor.

Clay Jackson's mother keeps several mementos of him, including the last photo taken of him the day he died. Jackson was killed in a boating crash on July 4, 2019 on Lake Jordan.
Clay Jackson's mother keeps several mementos of him, including the last photo taken of him the day he died. Jackson was killed in a boating crash on July 4, 2019 on Lake Jordan. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The Fuller family urges boat operators to be careful this weekend; don’t take any chances. Yet, according to Marine Patrolman Lt. Mark Fuller, some boaters are still doing just that.

“Unfortunately, for some people alcohol is part of them enjoying their time off,” Lt. Fuller, who is not related to Clay’s family, said.

Clay Jackson would’ve turned 27 in April. He is gone but not the memories he left behind, memories his mom and sister can only hold onto.

“I miss him,” Leslie Fuller said.

Alabama Marine Patrol has since add new “No Wake Zones” covering large parts of the lake in an effort to slow down speedy boats. Leslie Fuller applauded the move.

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