Update Nov. 4, 2016: A Boise man, Cole J. Dyer, has been accused of providing alcohol to Tully and other minors at the graduation party. Read more about that charge here.
Clayton Tully was an aspiring diesel mechanic who planned to attend University Technical Institute after high school.
The Boise native spent many weekends in Hells Canyon riding jet boats with his grandparents, according to an obituary in today’s Statesman. He enjoyed fishing, swimming in the river, jumping off of rocks and learning to tie knots.
“Clay felt most complete when he was outdoors,” the obituary says. “He enjoyed camping, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, jet boating, hunting, crossing through deep water in his Dodge pickup truck (Mopar or no car), muddin’, and driving on dirt roads.”
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Tully, 17, died Sunday morning in a rollover crash near Swan Falls, less than 24 hours after he graduated high school.
Police are still investigating the crash. Family and fellow students, meanwhile, are remembering the avid hunter who enjoyed taking things apart but “rarely putting things back together.”
He was his momma’s boy, his father’s hunting buddy, his sister’s protector.
Clayton Tully’s obituary
Crash followed graduation party
The crash occurred just before 5 a.m., according to the Ada County Coroner’s Office, which released Tully’s name Tuesday afternoon. Tully and one passenger were ejected in the crash. Ada County sheriff’s deputies believe none of the occupants was wearing a seat belt.
Investigators are waiting for an autopsy and toxicology analysis before they determine the cause of Tully’s death, according to the coroner’s announcement.
It appeared the boys were at a graduation party in the desert, and they went for a drive east of the intersection of Swan Falls and Moore roads. Witnesses told Ada County sheriff’s deputies the 18-year-old was driving at a high rate of speed on a dirt road when he lost control of the pickup, which rolled.
A 15-year-old boy in the truck was seriously injured and was taken by air ambulance to a local hospital. Information on his condition has not been available. A 16-year-old boy who was also injured in the crash was treated and released, said Patrick Orr, spokesman for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
The crash is still under investigation and no citations have been issued, Orr said. Though investigators are making no assumptions, beer cans were found at the scene, he said.
A community in mourning
The West Ada School District brought crisis counselors Wednesday to Meridian High, district spokesman Eric Exline said.
“This group of counselors are available to talk to students individually to help them process their feelings and grief,” he said. “When a school has a crisis such as this, the crisis team works with the building staff to help identify students who are struggling with the loss so that they can get the counseling support they need.”
Tully’s death has hit the school hard.
Losing a young, talented student with a bright future ahead is hard on our school community, and our hearts go out to the family during such a difficult time.
Eric Exline, West Ada School District spokesman
Meridian High School’s graduation ceremony was at 3 p.m. Saturday. There wasn’t a school-sanctioned graduation party this year; school boosters organized a party last year but only about 20 students attended.
“They put out feelers this year but didn’t have enough interest,” Exline said.
While the details of the crash are still unclear, it has highlighted the efforts the district and local law enforcement make to educate teens about safe driving.
Meridian police sponsor frequent Alive at 25 courses that encourage young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 to take responsibility for their driving behavior. The one-day classes stress how inexperience, distractions and peer pressure, along with the use of alcohol and drugs, increase the danger for drivers and passengers.
School resource officers also spend a lot of time during the entire school year warning students of the dangers of drinking and driving and encouraging them to make good decisions, said Orr and Meridian Lt. Berle Stokes.
“That message is shared with students all the time. It’s a constant effort,” Stokes said.
A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the Valley Shepherd Church of the Nazarene at 150 West Maestra St. in Meridian.
Burial will follow the funeral at Meridian Cemetery. A celebration of life will follow at Heroes Park, 3064 W. Malta Drive (off Ten Mile between McMillan and Chinden) in Meridian.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Accent Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Clay Tully Memorial at Wells Fargo Bank.