WAAY 31 went out to the Stevenson Bridge and talked to John Ellison who told us he saw 28-year-old Jaron Willmon and two others fishing Friday night. Ellison said just hours later saw their boat again, but it was underwater.
"It was just a freak accident," Ellison said.
We spoke to Ellison Sunday afternoon as he was headed out onto the water. He told us he'd been by the bridge earlier this weekend on what started as a normal Friday night.
"About 8:00, 8:30 I was headed to my girlfriend's house to go eat, and I saw them bow-fishing at first. Then about 11:30ish, 12:00 I was coming back and I saw the boat underwater," Ellison said.
When he saw the capsized boat, Ellison said he immediately picked up the phone.
"My buddies, I called them to see if it was their boat and it wasn't them," Ellison said.
According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, three men were bow-fishing Friday night on flooded property near Raccoon Creek in the Stevenson Bridge area. Authorities said the boat hit something and capsized. Two of the men were able to make it back to the bank, but Jaron Willmon drowned.
"I just thought they flipped the boat. I know stuff happens, but I didn't figure that somebody would've drowned out there," Ellison said.
A sheriff's office spokesperson confirmed Marine Police and the Scottsboro Jackson County Rescue Squad responded to the boating accident, and the rescue squad found Willmon's body early Saturday morning.
Based on his experience, Ellison said it's possible for someone to drown out there but he never thought it was likely. Now, he's wracking his brain and trying to figure out how it happened.
"I still don't know what they could have hit. There's no tree or nothing where the boat was at," Ellison said.
Ellison went on to say that tree limbs and trash are the biggest things boaters around here have to look out for. Even after the accident, Ellison said he's going to keep getting out on the water and continue to keep an eye out for anything that could cause him harm.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office told WAAY 31 the crash is still under investigation.
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