Community gathers support for family of killed ALDOT worker

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – An ALDOT worker's life was cut short Thursday in an accident on Interstate 65. Family friends say 35-year-old Jake Smith was a loving friend, husband and father to two young twins and a step son. Thursday morning the Smith family lost their provider.

"When your husband goes to work, or anybody goes to work you don't ever think they won't come home," explained family friend, Katie Bowers.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.  According to ALDOT, Jake Smith and his co-worker Kenneth Hopper were on a transportation truck moving barrels following a lane closure. Hopper survived but Smith died at the scene.

"He worked two jobs so that Summer could stay home with the babies," said Bowers.

The twins are nearly two-years-old now. When they were born, the twins spent weeks in the NICU.

"Those kids were his life,” said family friend, Vicki Young. “He didn't miss one day in the NICU."

"He would do anything for his family," added Bowers.

Now these friends are trying to take up where Jake has had to leave off.

"We are collecting gas cards, gift cards, size five diapers and dinner donations," explained Vicki Young.

Everything this family may need for the time being. Drop off locations are:

  • Salon 53 on Hwy 53 in Toney
  • Nurturing Moment on South Parkway in Huntsville
  • Advance Auto 871 on Hwy 72 in Athens

"She has been a support to so many people that it's time for these communities to come and rally for her," said Young.

The cause of this accident is still unknown, but the result is conclusive. A family is forever changed after Smith simply went to work.

"People need to look at traffic cones and if you see some up ahead, move over. There is no reason to stay in that lane," said Young.

Now every effort is being made to help this family.

"We can’t take the pain away and the hurt away and we can't get Jake back, but we can do this and take the financial burden off her," said Bowers.

Visitation for Smith will be from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at Colbert Memorial Chapel in Tuscumbia. The funeral will take place at 3 p.m.

Smith will be buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Sheffield.