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Boat Crash Victims Praised at Service for Their Family Values

September 29, 2003|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

In a memorial service filled with joy and sadness, Jacquel and Jonathan Herbert were remembered as an exceptional brother and sister who valued family and friends above everything and never walked away from someone in need.

The First Baptist Church of Laguna Hills was overflowing Sunday, forcing some mourners into adjoining rooms and outside in a garden area.

Pastor Charles Hughes said the large number of people who came to honor Jonathan, 21, and his sister, Jacquel, 18, were reflections of the good the two accomplished in their short lives.

Jacquel and Jonathan Herbert, of Laguna Hills, died in a boat crash on the Colorado River on Sept. 19. They were Wayne and Jana Herbert's only children.

Seeing the church packed with her children's friends offered some comfort to a grieving Jana Herbert.

"We want to thank every individual for the outpouring of love," she said in a brief address to the congregants.

She brought many to tears when she read a report that Jacquel had written in high school about morals and the need for families to remain intact.

"Many families are struggling to stay together.... We need to strengthen the morals and values in a home. Every child deserves a mommy and daddy," Jacquel wrote.

A boat driven by Jonathan Herbert collided with another speedboat on a stretch of the river in Arizona known as the Parker Strip.

Also killed was passenger Ashley Rollins, 18, of Mission Viejo. Josh Rogers, 18, of Mission Viejo was also in the Herberts' boat and remained in a coma Saturday with a serious head injury.

Grier D. Rush of Maywood, the driver of the other boat, is in jail in Arizona, charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Most of those at Sunday's service were young, many in their teens.

"I can't believe we're here. I can't believe we're here for this reason," said a young girl to a friend whose eyes were brimming with tears.

Some young mourners cried when Laura Collier sang a tribute to the brother and sister titled "Bubbly Jacquel and Tender Jonathan," which she wrote.

Lauren Dickson, a friend of Jacquel, remembered her as pretty and energetic. "Everyone wanted to be around her because she gave out so much energy and good feelings," Dickson said.

Dustin Ash recalled Jonathan's love for motorcycles and boating.

Hughes asked the church audience to remember Jana and Wayne Herbert as they struggle to put their lives back together. "The pain and hurt is beyond words," he said.

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