Friend describes boat crash victim as 'all-around nice guy'

Friends describe boat crash victim as nice guy

MILLER COUNTY, Mo. - The victim of a deadly Lake of the Ozarks boat crash was an "all-around nice guy," according to one of his friends.

"Just a good, all-around nice guy who will be very well missed by everyone," said Steve Beach, general manager of the Lake Ozark Speedway.

Jason Russell, 39, of Eugene was killed when another boat collided with his at mile marker 4 at Lake of the Ozarks Saturday. The driver of the other boat, Kelly Wise, was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Beach said Russell was an avid race car driver and would race at the Speedway nearly every weekend. His fans called themselves Jason Nation and Beach said each night he raced at least 150 members of Jason Nation in the stands.

"He was a soft-spoken guy, just didn't say a whole lot, but when he put his helmet on he was an animal," Beach said. "He was a very impressive, very talented race car driver."

Beach said Russell loved to be on the water nearly as much as he loved racing and would spend more time on the water during the summer than the racetrack. The news of Russell's death came as a shock to the racing community.

"He's raced thousands of laps and, as far as I know, has never gotten hurt," he said, "and then he goes out and is enjoying the evening with his buddies on the water and ends up losing his life."

A Celebration of Life for Russell will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon.



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