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.
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.
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.
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.
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.