HIGHLAND — Family and friends of a 17-year-old boy from Highland are mourning his death after he was killed in a car crash on New Year’s Day.
Jackson Keate was a junior at Lone Peak High School.
On Monday, a letter was read to the student body about Jackson’s death, and grief counselors were available for anyone who needed to talk.
Jackson just celebrated his 17th birthday on Dec. 11.
In cell phone video, he seemed happy, smiling and making everyone laugh. And that’s exactly how people said they will remember him.
“He was very fun, loving, and I don’t use that lightly. He could just come into a room and instantly brighten the room and make things more fun,” said Melanie Alder, Jackson’s mom.
On Jan. 1, Jackson was driving up to his family’s cabin. Troopers say on a blind corner near Deer Creek Reservoir, his car drifted to the right and he overcorrected into oncoming traffic, hitting two other vehicles.
The teen was killed in the crash.
“To every parent, a child is everything and he was my everything,” said Alder.
Alder said Jackson was a good student who loved cross country, track and dancing.
He also had a million friends, many of which showed up outside his home Sunday night, holding candles and shedding tears for a young life taken too soon.
Video still of students who came to Jackson Keate’s home Sunday night holding candles. (Photo: Family photo)
“It reaffirms his incredible ability to connect and to love and to be loved in return,” said Alder.
His mom said Jackson also had a way of connecting with people. He had a total of 13 siblings and stepsiblings, and brought his families together in a way no one else could.
Alder said her son inspired her, and she knows what his legacy will be for all who loved him.
“I guess the best way to say it is just to live life to the fullest,” she said. “He was so naturally gifted at that, and that’s what I’d like people to remember.”
A photo of Jackson Keate, right, running with his father Scott Keate, left. (Photo: Family photo)
Jackson’s father, Scott Keate, shared a photo of the two of them running together. He said even though he’s grieving the loss of his son, he’s comforted to know that he’s now running side-by-side with so many people he loves.