Francis Taylor, the driver of a vehicle that rolled on U.S. Highway 160 near Bayfield last week, died in a Denver-area hospital on Saturday at the age of 23.
Taylor had been admitted in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood until his death.
According to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nate Reid, Taylor was eastbound on Highway 160 near mile post 96 at about 5 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle. The car crossed the center lane, hit a speed limit sign and reflector post, and then drove off the left side of the road and rolled.
Taylor, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle. The passengers – Tomas Cruz-Villalobos, 23, and Rebecca Carter, 38, both of Durango – were wearing seat belts, and were taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries. Both have been released.
According to an online obituary, Francis Cloud “Chief” Taylor graduated from Ignacio High School, and attended Pueblo Community College and Fort Lewis College, studying environmental science.
Taylor, a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, is listed as working at the Southern Ute Museum and interning at the Southern Ute Environmental Department.
“Francis was a very respectful young man,” the obituary says. “He was shy but caring and had a smile that would melt your heart. He loved video games, sky diving, canoeing, fishing, playing football, being outdoors and cooking for his family.
“He had much love for his family, especially his little brothers and sisters.”
Taylor is survived by his mother and stepdad, Alfreda and Marvin Bailey, both of Oklahoma City; his dad, Scott Taylor, of Ignacio; two brothers, three sisters and two grandmothers.
An all-night wake with a Native American Church Service will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the family home in Ignacio. On Friday, a service will be at 10 a.m. at the Southern Ute Chapel.