Two Jasper County business owners were killed on Saturday in a boating accident in Kentucky.
Jeff Asbell, owner of Jeff Asbell Excavating and Trucking Inc., Carl Junction, and Brad Smith, owner of Brad Smith Power, a custom marine engine building company on west Seventh Street in Joplin, died in a power boat crash at the 12th annual Lake Cumberland Poker Run boat show held at the Lake Cumberland reservoir in south-central Kentucky about 150 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn.
The accident happened about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Bill Jasper, President of State Dock at Lake Cumberland, confirmed the accident to The Carthage Press by phone on Saturday.
Jasper said he had spoken with Asbell and Smith on Friday and they were excited to participate in the run. He said Smith's company had just built two new motors for Asbell's boat and it was the first chance for them to take it out and run them.
Jasper said Asbell told him it was his first time at Lake Cumberland.
“A poker run is like a motorcycle rally or a car show,” Jasper said. “It's not a race, it's to show. The boats are at the dock, then the owners get the chance to take them out and run them. It's like any other day at the lake, except the regulars know to stay out of our way.”
Jasper said Asbell was the driver and Smith was the throttle man on Asbell's boat. He said drivers in boats behind Asbell's said Asbell's boat hit the wake of the boat in front of it, then went airborne.
“It was just a bad accident,” Jasper said. “The power boating community is a close-knit group and this has hit them all hard. We certainly extend our condolences to the families and the people in Missouri.”