Details of fatal boating accident released

Nicole June Reporting

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A man has been arrested in connection with the boating accident that resulted in the death of Stephanie Burns, 21, Saturday, June 29.

Douglas Jackson, 23, of Palmyra, TN, has been charged with vehicular homicide, tampering with or fabricating evidence, possession/purchase of alcohol for minors, and violation of boating registration.

Burns got caught in the propeller of a boat Saturday on the Cumberland River, and was deceased when emergency personnel arrived. 20-year-old Aaron Santoya, also injured has since been released from the hospital.

What began as a prank turned into a tragic loss of life.

Details of the incident were reported in the arrest warrant obtained by ClarksvilleNow:

A witness contacted an officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) June 30, saying they had seen the death of Stephanie Burns on the Cumberland River.

The witness observed Aaron Santoyo, 20, pick Burns up as if he were going to throw her overboard while Jackson was driving the 18-foot boat upstream from the Hwy 48/13 bridge. As Santoyo lifted her into the air, Jackson pushed the two into the water, and then continued to drive away from them.

Another passenger in the boat, Bobby Meadows, 30, panicked and told Jackson Burns couldn’t swim, and pleaded with him to turn around as he grabbed a life jacket.
Jackson drove the boat back towards Burns and Santoyo at a high rate of speed, turned the boat 90 degrees, and ran both of them over with the boat. The witness heard the sound of the two striking the boat. Jackson did not slow down until after he had hit them.

He turned the boat back towards the bridge, and then made his way back to the victims in the water. Burns could be heard screaming “Help me!” as Meadows attempted to grab her out of the water and asked Jackson for assistance. Jackson, however, was heard telling everyone to throw the beer cans and alcohol and a blue cooler out of the boat, which was done before anyone assisted Meadows in helping Burns.

She had been struck by the boat and received fatal injuries from the propeller on her hip, torso, chest, and arms.

Santoyo was treated for cuts on his head and hand.

A nearby boat saw what was happening and attempted to help Burns back into the boat, and both Burns and Santoyo were taken away by rescue crews and the TWRA.
Jackson drove Meadows and Amber Bradley, 21, back to the marina and said “Let’s get our story straight.” He said he had been drinking and did not want anyone to know what happened.

When he was interviewed by TWRA, Jackson said in a statement he “had no idea how this happened and Stephanie must have fallen out of the boat into the propeller,” or he could have “accidentally had it in reverse and she fell in and the boat backed over her.”

Jackson was booked Tuesday, July 2. His bond has been set at $403,000, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.