OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – It was Memorial Day weekend, 2011.
Lake Eufaula was calm and quiet.
Jerry Tucker, and his son, Stoney took an evening trip out to their favorite fishing spot.
But the small aluminum boat capsized and Stoney couldn’t swim.
Shawna Maxwell said, “Dad tried to save him and we lost them both. And what’s horrible is that when they pulled the boat up the next day the life jacket popped out. It had been there the whole time but nobody wore it. It wasn’t any help to them.”
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death.
With Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer, Shawna Maxwell wants everyone to know, it can happen to even the most experienced people.
“No matter how prepared you think you are, a storm can come up, a wind, inexperienced driver, drunk driver, all of those things can change your life in an instant if you’re not prepared,” said Maxwell.
The law required every boat to be equipped with a flotation device for each passenger. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an Olympic swimmer, anyone 12 and under must be wearing a life jacket while on the water.
Lake Patrol will be out all weekend, doing equipment checks and looking for violators.
“If we see them without a life jacket the parents get a ticket. It’s automatic. We don’t like giving those tickets but we want everyone to wear their life jackets,” said Edmond Police Sgt. Todd Strader.
Not a day goes by that Shawna doesn’t think about her dad and brother. It’s especially hard on the anniversary of their deaths.
But by sharing their story, Maxwell hopes it’ll save another family from a similar heartache.
“If it makes someone think twice, saves a baby from drowning, or saves a parent from the loss of a child, or the lose of a husband, if it will save somebody, it’ll be worth it,” said Maxwell.