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18-year-old dies after being thrown onto shore when boat strikes rock, Utah cops say

Jayla Hiatt, 18, of Spanish Fork, Utah, died Friday after being hurled onto shore from a boat that hit a rock on Lake Powell, police say. The driver, Triston Brady Harrison, 21, faces DUI charges.
Jayla Hiatt, 18, of Spanish Fork, Utah, died Friday after being hurled onto shore from a boat that hit a rock on Lake Powell, police say. The driver, Triston Brady Harrison, 21, faces DUI charges. Screengrab from GoFundMe

An 18-year-old girl died Friday after being hurled onto the shores of Utah’s Lake Powell when the boat she was on slammed into a rock and beached itself, the Gephardt Daily reports.

The driver, Triston Brady Harrison, 21, has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving with serious bodily injury, automobile homicide and failure to maintain proper lookout, The Deseret News reported.

Friends of Jayla Hiatt, who had just graduated from high school, remembered the Spanish Forks teen as someone who was “friends with everybody she met,” KSL reported.

“It’s just really hard knowing that she’s not here anymore, like it doesn’t even seem real,” said Sam Johnson, who had known Hiatt since the first grade, according to the station.

Lexi Pack, who worked with Hiatt at Glade’s Drive-Inn in Spanish Fork, said she first thought her friends were playing a prank on her when they told her the 18-year-old had died, KSL reported.

“I felt like she was going to pop up out of the back of the truck and say hi,” Pack said, according to the station.

The drive-in held a fundraiser for Hiatt’s family and funeral costs over the weekend, with all tips going to the fund, a Facebook post says.

A GoFundMe account for her family also has been established. It has raised $1,390 toward a $6,000 goal as of Monday morning.

Lake Powell visitor James Hamilton said people were “hurled from the boat” when it hit the rocks Friday north of Hall’s Crossing near Moki Canyon, KSTU reported.

Investigators say Harrison failed to keep a safe distance from another boat towing people on a tube and ignored navigational markers before the crash, according to the station.

When officers spoke to Harrison after the crash, they “could smell the strong odor of alcoholic beverages” from him and “observed his eyes to be glossy and bloodshot,” The Deseret News reported.

In police dash cam video, you can clearly see a tree sticking out of a car that is driving on the road. The 54-year-old woman was arrested for driving under the influence.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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