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Victim’s family, friends share memories after Lake Powell boating accident

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 23:23:49-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah — A mother is in shock after losing her daughter in a boating accident in Lake Powell Friday.

Jayla Hiatt, 18, was out on the water with some friends when the driver — who police say was intoxicated — ran the boat ashore.

She was ejected from the boat and died from her injuries when she struck the rocky shore.

"Nobody plans for an 18-year-old to die. You don’t ask them how they want to be buried, or how they want their body to lay to rest," said Courtney Measom, Hiatt's mother. "So as a mom, you have to figure that out on your own.”

Measom is shocked at what happened to her daughter — she still has not seen her daughter's body after the accident, she said.

"It was just numbing at first when the officers came, like, 'It’s not real. It’s not real. How do I know this is real?'" Measom said. "I still haven’t seen her, so it’s hard.”

Hiatt's death is difficult for her friends and coworkers as well.

"It’s been really hard," said Samantha Johnson, a longtime friend since childhood. "I still like don’t believe it’s real... I don’t want to accept it."

Measom said she had a bad feeling about her daughter going on the trip, but since she had just graduated from high school and wanted to have a good time, she let her go.

"Hold your babies close, and if they get mad, they get mad," Measom said. "At least they’ll still be here with you and you’ll have them by your side.”

But in her grief, she’s not alone.

"It's just really hard," Hiatt's friend Samantha Johnson said. "I just want my best friend back."

At Glade's Drive Inn, where Hiatt worked, tips are pouring in to support the family — thousands of dollars already.

"I know Jayla would be so pumped to see how much money people are actually putting in towards her," said Alexis Pack, one of Hiatt's coworkers.

Planning a funeral instead of her daughter's future, Measom said she is overwhelmed by the community’s love for her daughter.

“It’s crazy," Measom said. "You don’t know that that many people care about you until something tragic happens, and then, when it does, you just see everybody come out.”

Measom will finally get to see her daughter's body for the first time tomorrow. As for the community, donations from tips alone have reached more than $3,000.