DESTIN — Lisa Hatchett lost her only son, her last surviving family member, in a tragic boat crash three years ago.
Today, she said she struggles to move on and get to a place where life can be "livable" again.
"You can't imagine what it's like to lose a child," Lisa said with a quivering voice.
Lisa moved to Destin when her son, Avery Hatchett, was 8 years old, but was in between Destin and Alabama at the time of the crash because of her father's failing health. He passed away five months before her son.
Although she can't bear to look at the east jetty where the crash occurred, Lisa returns to Destin occasionally and plans to move back eventually.
"I will return to Destin, my home, when I can breathe again," Lisa said. "I will move back to my friends who I miss and love."
Although Lisa never expected to lose her son, she's thankful for the close relationship they had. Avery, 22 when he died, was a "good-looking" and "hard-working" Destin resident who had been honored a year earlier for saving someone’s life.
"It was a privilege to be Avery's mother," Lisa said.
The crash that took Lisa's only chance to ever have grandchildren happened during the early morning of March 18, 2016. Twelve people, including Avery, were on board a boat that crashed into the east jetty near the East Pass. Avery and another passenger, Anna Sorokina, were killed while the other 10 people were injured. Sorkina’s body was never found.
Nearly three years later, the driver of the boat, Judsen Cunningham, is scheduled to face a jury Monday — in a trial that has been postponed 29 times.
Cunningham is charged with two counts of homicide-negligent manslaughter BUI causing death, two counts of negligent manslaughter and one count of larceny, as well as four misdemeanor charges.
Cunningham’s alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit after the crash, according to reports. He was out on bond the same day of his arrest in August of 2016, and has been out since, though he is banned from consuming alcohol.
"He's just living his life for the last three years ... and I've not gotten an 'I'm sorry' from nobody," Lisa said.
The trial will be the first time Lisa sees Cunningham's face.
“It’s something that I’ve been anticipating since Avery’s death,” she said. “I’m trying to honor him by staying strong. In the midst of a tragedy, true character of a person reveals itself, and that’s what my father taught me.”
Since Avery’s death, Lisa said she has removed herself from social media sites, making it difficult to communicate with community members who have reached out to her about the trial.
“I just wanted the local community that we were such a part of to be aware of (the trial) because I’ve not been able to give them a definitive answer,” she said.
Lisa hopes the outcome of the trial results in Cunningham going to jail.
“The day is going to come,” she said. “Justice will be served.
"I just pray that God gives me the strength to endure that week."