Taylor was a freshman in high school, just getting started on her journey of life. March 5, 2017 was a day that changed many lives forever. It was early Sunday morning, the day after prom. We were notified that Taylor was involved in a high speed rollover crash involving an intoxicated teenage driver. She didn’t make it. Taylor and another passenger, Connor Denney, were pronounced dead at the scene while the three other teens in the vehicle, including the driver, were flown to the hospital with serious injuries.

Taylor was such a fun-loving, high-spirited girl. She had a huge, contagious smile and at least a dozen people called her their very best friend. She had a way with animals, too. She loved them all, but cats were her favorite. She was such an amazing girl that brought so much joy to our lives. We miss her so much.

She loved playing sports from an early age; she picked them up easily, and was always one of the strongest competitors in the game. She played volleyball and basketball, and was excited to join the track team (she was killed one day before her first practice).

She was a fierce player and had a fiercely loving personality. Taylor had a promising future in sports and in life. Volleyball was her true passion; she played hard and earned her spot as a starter in many of the varsity games. She was also on the varsity basketball team; she was always so focused and intense. At the funeral, her coach shared the tale of a game where, as a freshman, Taylor was the only answer the team had for the assault of the state’s best player.

It should be said that the four passengers had not been hanging out with the driver that evening, they had only asked for a ride home. Because the driver—who now has to live with the fact that he is responsible for taking two lives—made the decision to get drunk before allowing four kids into his vehicle, and went for a joyride instead of dropping them off, Taylor’s future is gone forever. Our lives will never be the same. The love and light that Taylor brought into our lives was taken away that day.

This was a senseless crash that never should have happened. It is never OK to drink and drive. Please do not make poor choices. Do not drive under the influence. Do not tolerate drinking and driving. If you ever encounter a drinking and driving situation, stand up and say something against it. Whether it’s a friend, sibling, parent, stranger, etc., refuse to ride and notify somebody about the situation immediately. It truly could mean a matter of life or death.

THIS WAS A SENSELESS CRASH THAT NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. IT IS NEVER OK TO DRINK AND DRIVE.

2017 Teen Memoriam