When a parent loses a child, a part of them dies too and no amount of time will make that any better.
When a Colorado mother found out her son had been killed in an accident, she was absolutely destroyed. In order to feel connected to him, she would send messages to his phone number even though she knew she would never get a reply. Then one day, she did…
The 25 Goals
When a Colorado young man was a student at Windsor High School in Windsor, Colorado, which is about an hour north of Denver, he made a list of the 25 things he wanted to achieve in his lifetime. Unlike other teenagers, none of his aspirations had anything to do with getting rich and owning a big home.
A Selfless Soul
The 25 items of the future goal list revolved around serving others and being a good person. According to his mom, some of the goals on the list included joining the Army, saving a life, starting a family, visiting the Saquangue Lakota Oyate tribe, which was the tribe his ancestors belonged to, volunteering in the community, and being ‘the best man, husband, son, soldier, and friend as possible…”
When the teen, who was extremely close to his mother, told her about his top 25 goals for his future, she didn’t have a doubt that he would be able to achieve them throughout his lifetime and watched proudly as he started crossing items off the list while still in high school.
Committed To Service
After graduating high school in 2012, the ambitious boy immediately joined the U.S. Army and by the time he was 21, he was already an Army veteran. His next goal was to get a job with the Colorado State Patrol and was just about to accomplish that goal but he was never given the chance to…
A Cadet In Training
By May 2015, Taylor Thyfault was in the final stages of cadet training with the Colorado State Patrol. As part of his final training, Taylor was assigned to ride along with Trooper Clinton Rushing as part of field training to show cadets what it’s really like to work on patrol.
The Ride Along
According to the police, the cadets get assigned to ride along with experienced troopers who are supposed to get them excited for the job they are about to do. “Ultimately, this was supposed to be one of his best days,” said Trooper Josh Lewis, a State Patrol spokesman…
An Early Start
So, on the morning of May 23, 2015, Taylor was out on patrol early with Rushing. At around 7:45 that morning, the trooper and the cadet arrived at a 3-car crash site on Colorado Highway 66 to help with the crash investigation.
While helping with the investigation and assisting the victims, Rushing and Taylor were warned about a high-speed police chase that was heading their way. The pair immediately got to work setting up stop sticks to pierce the suspect’s tires and made sure everyone was off the road…
A Reckless Maneuver
At around 8 a.m., the driver raced towards the stop sticks and tried to maneuver around them to keep going. Instead, the driver ended up hitting Trooper Rushing, losing control of the car, and finally hit Taylor, who was still on the road trying to make sure everyone else was out of harm’s way.
A Fatal Crash
Rushing was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He eventually recovered from his severe injuries, but Taylor was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the car, 27-year-old Christopher Lee Gebers, was treated at the hospital and then taken to Boulder County Jail…
Upon his arrest, Gebers was charged with first-degree murder with ‘attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, eluding a police officer, driving a vehicle while license canceled/denied and illegal use of blue lights,’ Longmont Police said. Ultimately, Gebers was found guilty and sentenced to life without parole plus 342 years in prison.
A Selfless Act
During the investigation, police found out that Taylor saw the Honda drifting towards him and used his last few seconds alive to make sure everyone else was safe. “The cadet told me, ‘Get off the road! Get off the road!’” said Rusty Melvin, the tow truck driver that was there towing away cars from the earlier crash. Thanks to Taylor’s warning, Rusty had time to get out of the way…
Doing His Job
“Right up to the end, he was doing his job to protect the community,” said Jeff Satur, a spokesman for the Longmont Police Department. “He took his half a second to react [to the approaching car] to warn the tow truck driver to get out of the road,” said Taylor’s mom, Carol Adler.
A Heartbreaking Realization
When Carol was notified about the accident, she refused to believe her 21-year-old was gone and immediately texted him. Normally, Taylor would respond right away when his mom texted him, but this time there was no reply and Carol knew her son was truly gone…
A Son And Best Friend
In the days and weeks that followed, Carol struggled to come to terms with what happened. Taylor was not only her son, but he was her best friend. The 2 texted regularly during the day, worked out together, and had coffee together on Friday mornings.
The Last Goal
The only thing that made Carol feel better was the fact that Taylor died saving someone’s life, which was 1 of the goals on his life goal list. “And if you asked him, he’d do it again, because he sacrificed himself, for someone else,” Carol said. “He lived, he dreamed and breathed that…”
The Text Message
Despite knowing her son’s death was not in vain, Carol was still devastated. “Every day, it hits me like a ton of bricks, when I can’t text him,” Carol said. “We’re just that close. Everything that happened in his life was in my life.” A few weeks after the accident, Carol broke down and sent a message to Taylor’s phone. She knew he wouldn’t answer but the act of sending him a message made her feel connected to him.
The Shocking Response
After sending several heartfelt messages, however, Carol was stunned when she received a response. In the weeks that followed Taylor’s death, his phone number had been reassigned to Sergeant Kell Husley, a veteran officer in the same county where Taylor was killed. At first, Kell ignored the messages thinking the sender had the wrong number…
Must Be Fate
“Then I got one that was really heartfelt and I knew that this is somebody who doesn’t know I have this phone,” said Kell. After Carol explained who she was and that the number used to belong to her son, Taylor Thyfault, Kell offered to request a new phone number. Carol, however, insisted Kell keep the number and thought it was fate that Taylor’s number was reassigned to Kell. “I am honored that a police officer of your credentials has [Thyfault’s] number,” Carol texted kell. “You’re doing the things he wanted to do.”
Now, Carol occasionally texts Kell to check in on him and remind him to be safe on the job. “[He is] still trying to make a difference,” said Kell, who was inspired by Taylor after more than 3 decades with the force. In the aftermath of the accident, Taylor was awarded the Purple Heart by the veterans organization and was posthumously promoted to the rank of trooper. “I just want to text him and tell him I’m so proud, it’s a knee-jerk reaction because we were that close,” Carol said.