Family mourns after drunk driving accident | Local News

Six months after losing one of their own, a family has come forward to share their loss and warn others about the devastation that drinking and driving can cause.

Known to many as a hard-working family man, Lloyd Jason Reed was killed on October 2, 2018 in an accident on Zehner Road in Athens. A complaint filed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

“Someone made the decision to get behind the wheel drunk and tore a family apart,” said Patrisha Compton, Reed’s niece.

Compton described his uncle as a man who enjoyed chatting through projects, usually aided by his “sidekick” of a younger daughter, Mercedes. Leslie Reed, Jason’s wife for almost 20 years, said everything he does has to be practical.

“Every day he had a to-do list,” Leslie Reed said. “He would mark them, wake up the next day, and make another list.”

That October day, Jason was renovating a bathroom when he decided to take a trip to Lowe’s in Athens. He and Mercedes got into the 1978 Chevrolet El Camino he had restored with his eldest daughter, and off they went.

He died on the way home.

Receive the call

“I was screaming,” Leslie Reed said. “Everyone at Walmart was trying to reach me.”

It was his nephew’s wife who broke the news out of her own hysteria. Leslie said the call “was the worst thing I’ve ever had,” and she kept begging that it wasn’t true.

“He has never been the victim of an accident,” she said. “He had always been a reliable person. Safety was his motto.”

The nephew and his wife were among the first to discover the accident. By the time Leslie got there, the stage was already demarcated, keeping it from Mercedes.

“They didn’t let me see it, didn’t let me see my daughter,” she said.

Mercedes was taken via MedFlight to Huntsville Hospital, where she spent the next week beginning her healing process. The list of injuries included fractures, a punctured lung, brain hemorrhage, and damage to the heart, face and knee.

The family believe they survived because Jason realized they were about to be hit by another vehicle and drove the car to take the impact.

“My uncle made sure to breathe his last, so she doesn’t have to,” Compton said.

Wednesday eve

Kimberly Wood, Jason’s older sister, said her death had split her life in two.

“I say there is a ‘before the wreck’ and ‘after the wreck’. It’s like two different lives, ”she says.

In the second life, a large part of the family avoids Zehner Road. Jason’s mother cries every time she has to take the road, and Jason’s children and wife completely avoid her.

Tuesdays are also difficult for the family. Jason passed away on a Tuesday, and within two months his grandmother, brother and two of his aunts also passed away. Three of them died on Tuesdays.

“We don’t think about Tuesdays in our family anymore,” Compton said.

However, they are doing their best to continue. To drown his thoughts in his head, Wood began to sleep with a television on at night. Mercedes has frequent anxiety attacks and difficulties, but Leslie said she has gone back to school anyway.

“Today she called me up and said, ‘Mum, I miss dad so much, I want to come home,’” Leslie said.

Education was important to Jason, who didn’t have one. Leslie said she often reminds Mercedes that even though Jason can’t be there to see his degree or go to college in person, he is still looking out of the sky.

“Because he had no education, he wanted to make sure all nieces, nephews and children had an education,” Wood said. “And every one of them did. Every one has already graduated from high school.”

Say goodbye

Ted Stephens, who employed Jason for 12 years, remembered Jason as being “somewhat controllable, somewhat trainable … with a very irritating habit of being a little unreliable” when he was hired for the job. first time.

“But over the years we’ve seen the boy grow into a man,” Stephens wrote in an email Leslie shared with The News Courier. “… He was a man of honor, integrity and emotion who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of his beloved family.”

Family members weren’t the only ones to benefit from these qualities. In fact, Jason’s job would take him everywhere, and when it was time to say goodbye, Compton said license plates from as far away as New York appeared in the funeral home parking lot.

“There is an old saying we can embrace by keeping the memory of such a good person close,” Stephens wrote. “” The measure of one is not how much you love, but how much you are loved by others. “There has never been one to whom these words apply more than Jason Reed.”

Remembering Jason

April 2, a Tuesday, marked six months since Jason died. Next week, the family will host a candlelight vigil at Big Spring Park in Athens to mark the occasion.

The rally begins at 8 p.m., with family members ready to share their memories of Jason at 8:20 a.m. and a moment of silence at 8:24 a.m., the time of his death.

It’s somewhat ironic, given Jason’s reputation as a conversationalist.

“He loved to talk,” Leslie said. “You could barely get two words with him. A 3-4 minute conversation between you and me would take him all day.”

In other words, unless it is on the grill. His family jokes that no one was good enough to grill in his eyes – except Leslie with chicken – so Jason served as the grill chef at family meals.

However, he was not only known for his food and chatter. He also had a reputation for helping anyone in need.

“If you were stuck on the side of the road, he would pull over for you, even if he didn’t know you,” Wood said.

He was a helping personality who showed himself even when Jason was young, and not always in the brightest way. Wood said when she was pregnant with Compton, she and Jason, then 11, were stuck in the house during a snowstorm.

Jason took it upon himself to drag Wood’s brand new vacuum to the porch and vacuum the snow so Wood “wouldn’t slip and hurt the baby.”

When the holidays came, Jason was known for his love of Christmas lights. Compton said he could chain the living room together so the lights came on to the beat of the TV sound – something he also tried to recreate in his car as a teenager.

“He couldn’t afford fancy lights, so he took Christmas lights and put them all in the roof of the car, around the headlights, underneath – the whole car was adorned with flashing Christmas lights.” Wood said.

She said a state soldier arrested her and made her cancel all of her hard work.

And as an adult in adult chat, she said a lady at the store near her work was known to be the man who came to her lunch breaks to help lift heavy items and put them away.

“He didn’t sit still,” Leslie said.

It is this helpful, energetic, and chatty spirit that the family will remember on Wednesday, and they hope their memory will give someone else what it takes not to drink and drive.

“We’re not asking them to stop drinking,” Compton said. “I understand drinking. I understand. I ask to reflect on what you are doing. … The ignorance of people about drunkenness and what it could do to a family, it must stop.”

About the accused

Scotty Dale Moss, 38, has been charged with the felony of reckless murder and DUI felony assault in connection with the wreckage that killed Jason Reed. He was driving a GMC Envoy with a male passenger who was not injured in the wreckage.

Records show Moss was on bail at the time and awaiting trial for chemical endangerment of a minor. According to the accident report released by ALEA, Moss was on his way home when he crossed the center line and collided head-on with the El Camino.

Moss told officers he drank a pint of fireball before getting behind the wheel. He further admitted that he looked away from the road before the impact, which occurred less than half a mile from his residence. The soldiers estimated his speed to be 60 mph at the time of the crash, while Reed was obeying the 45 mph speed limit.

Moss remains in Limestone County Jail. Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said on Tuesday the case was awaiting presentation to a grand jury. Jones said Moss could be released on $ 75,000 bail after June 5.

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