Bond set for suspect in July 4 double-fatal Lake Jordan boat crash

Arrest made in fatal Elmore County boating crash

ELMORE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Just over three weeks after one boat slammed into another on Lake Jordan, killing two during a Fourth of July fireworks celebration, an arrest has been made in the case.

The driver of one boat, Damion Bruno, 41, of Clanton, is now charged with two counts of reckless murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault, and boating under the influence of alcohol.

According to court documents, Bruno’s blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC, was .11 percent at the time of the crash. The legal limit is .08 percent.

The charges are in connection to the fatal boat crash that claimed the lives of 26-year-old Clay Jackson and 17-year-old Travis House. Five others were injured. It took two days before the victims’ bodies were recovered from the water.

The reckless murder counts represent the deaths of Jackson and House, while the first-degree assault charge represent Caleb Peters, a third victim who was driving the boat that Bruno collided with. It’s unclear who the second-degree assault charge represents at this time.

Photos of Clay Jackson, one of two victims killed when boats collided on Lake Jordan on the night of July 4.
Photos of Clay Jackson, one of two victims killed when boats collided on Lake Jordan on the night of July 4. (Source: Leslie Fuller)

Elmore County Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson discussed the decision to charge Bruno with reckless murder.

“Under reckless murder you know there’s a substantial risk that someone could be hurt really bad or be killed,” Robinson explained. “You know there’s a risk. You know driving a boat intoxicated, you know driving at a really dangerously high speed could hurt someone, but you do it anyway. If you do it anyway and endanger a group of people, that’s reckless murder.”

House’s parents have a wrongful death lawsuit pending against Bruno that states he "was operating his boat at a high rate of speed, in a dangerous and reckless manner, and in a manner almost certainly to cause injury or death.”

Bruno remains in the Elmore County Jail where bond is set at $750,000. Due to the defendant being held on bond, we’ve been unable to reach him for comment. There’s no defense attorney listed in his public court documents.

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