CRIME

Passenger says they asked boat driver to stop drinking before deadly Lake Powell crash

Jun 19, 2019, 12:18 PM
Lake Powell passenger...
"That photo doesn't do it justice. That boat was probably double its length out of the shore. It hit hard enough that it did a full 360 spin and slid backward which is when it threw Jayla out." Photo: Chad Bunce

BULLFROG, Utah — A passenger on a boat that crashed at Lake Powell, killing an 18-year-old woman, is speaking out about the senior trip that went horribly wrong.

Taylor Bunce says they were on a friend’s senior trip, and one of the passenger’s cousins was the driver of the boat, 21-year-old Triston Harrison.

Bunce says Harrison was drinking and they asked him to stop.

“He just brushed it off like it was no big deal, and said it was just water, it was way different than driving, there was nothing he could hit,” she told KSL TV.

She describes what happened next.

“He was headed straight for a rock, and he wasn’t slowing down, and we got closer and closer, and we hit the rock,” Bunce said.

She and two other people were thrown from the boat, including Hiatt, and the boat started sliding.

“When it started sliding, she went under the boat. Malia was holding her head, and Triston was trying to do CPR,” Bunce recalled.

Hiatt died, and Bunce is recovering from her injuries as well. She says they have been friends since 7th grade, and she is mad at herself for begging her to go on that trip. She’s also upset she did not know about Harrison’s history of alcohol abuse before the trip.

Harrison has been charged with automobile homicide, two counts of DUI, and reckless driving. The Kane County Prosecutor says there could be more charges coming.

“Those charges would be minor charges. At this point I am probably not going to add any additional charges,” said Robert Van Dyke.

Van Dyke says he doesn’t think there can be charges for “delinquency of a minor,” because he’s not sure if the underage people on the boat were drinking. He still needs to talk to them.

He says he also needs to still talk to Hiatt’s family.

“My heart goes out to her family and friends. Her life was cut short, under very unfortunate circumstances, and I hope that they can remember the wonderful person that she was.”

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Passenger says they asked boat driver to stop drinking before deadly Lake Powell crash