Many in the community still mourn the premature and preventable loss of Jayde Marks. The 21-year-old was killed on July 7, 2019, when a drunk driver smashed into her car at the Rt. 304 intersection near Albertus Magnus High School.
“She was a very vibrant young lady,” said Seth Marks, her father, in an exclusive interview. “When Jayde was around, everybody knew it.”
Marks was known for her remarkable athletic endeavors. She competed on travel soccer teams, and played for a Little League softball team that traveled to Portland, Oregon, to compete in the 2011 World Series. Marks said that reflecting on his daughter’s athletic achievements helps him cope with her loss. “It just brings me back to really good places,” said Marks.
A makeshift memorial has rested at the site ever since the crash. Marks said he has been in touch with the highway department about establishing a permanent memorial nearby.
Last year, hundreds of car enthusiasts and friends carried out a cruise in her honor. According to Marks, another cruise is upcoming, and details will be published once they are announced.
Marks said despite the tremendous pain he feels daily, he has learned to use acceptance, gratitude, and forgiveness, to get through the days.
“I know for a fact that Jayde would not want me to be angry at the young man who is on the other end of this,” said Marks. “She would definitely only want positive for both families.”
Michael Mercado pled guilty last year to second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. Marks embraced Mercado’s family in court.
“I’ll definitely attribute some of my qualities to the way I know she would want me to be,” said Marks.