Signal Mountain man and friend killed in Texas jet-ski crash

Signal Mountain man and friend killed in Texas jet-ski crash

July 16th, 2017 by Judy Walton in Local Regional News

Harrison Smith, right, stands with Dr. Victor Boschini, chancellor of Texas Christian University, and friend Connor Vaccaro, left.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Lake Palo Pinto

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A 22-year-old Signal Mountain man died in a jet-ski crash Saturday outside of Fort Worth, Texas, a local newspaper reported.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Harrison Stokes Smith and a friend were jet-skiing when the craft collided with a dock. Smith and Tanner Poeschel, 22, of Fort Worth, were killed.

Poeschel was a recent graduate of the University of Missouri. Smith was a student at Texas Christian University and was scheduled to graduate in December with a degree in economics, he told the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in an interview earlier this year. He was interning with the group.

Harrison Smith is the son of Stokes and Kimberly Smith, of Signal Mountain.

His good friend and former TCU roommate, Connor Vaccaro, said by telephone Sunday from Fort Worth that Harrison had a gift for joy and a passion for helping people around him make the most of their lives.

"He was one of those guys who, no matter what you're doing, he's having fun doing it," Vaccaro said. "He was always laughing, he never said anything bad about anyone and he always saw the better in people."

Vaccaro said Smith went with two friends and his girlfriend for a weekend at Lake Palo Pinto, a 2,400-acre reservoir 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Vaccaro was supposed to go too, but he was moving to a new apartment over the weekend.

The Star-Telegram quoted a news release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department saying the 911 call came in about 1:20 a.m.

According to the newspaper, the caller said the two had left the lake house aboard a jet ski and that he heard a loud crash from the direction where they were headed.

Officers found the jet ski and a debris field along with the bodies. Both men were wearing their life jackets, the newspaper reported.

It said the accident is being investigated by the Texas Game Warden Forensics Reconstruction and Mapping Team, along with officials from the Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Office.

Vaccaro posted on Facebook after the accident: "Nothing breaks my heart more than hearing the news today. Its crazy how fast life can be taken away. Harrison Stokes Smith you have been one of my closest friends and one of the most selfless people I have known. You always knew how to smile at everything, and love everyone so passionately. Just wish I had one more time to laugh with you. All I know is that I will be carrying your goals and aspirations with me as I go through life. Cant wait to see you soon and I love you man."


Correction: This article was corrected after a previous version stated both Smith and Poeschel attended TCU. Smith was a student at TCU while Poeschel went to the University of Missouri.


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