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Palm Coast Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Palm Coast resident Michelle Taylor, 16, killed in car crash; 21-year-old injured

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A car struck the two as they walked along Lakeview Boulevard.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Michelle Ann Wood Taylor, a 16-year-old Palm Coast resident and Matanzas High School student, was killed March 2 when a car struck her as she walked alongside Lakeview Boulevard.  

Elizabeth Ann Sherman, 21, was walking with Taylor, and was injured.

"Michelle was adored by her parents," said Heather Beaven, a friend of the Taylor family. "She loved her dog Smooch, a little black and white fluff ball. She was my daughters' dear friend, and she made sure they never needed to fight over her attention. There was enough heart in Michelle to spread around. In middle school, she blossomed when she found archery. She learned to surf even though she'd burn the minute she hit the beach. And when she found band at MHS, she found her passion."

Palm Coast resident Diana Minotti said Taylor was a babysitter for Minotti's son for years, and was responsible and kind.

"We used to call her his guardian," Minotti said. "She was always there to look out for him. She was just helpful, always helpful. Even though she was much older than him, she always treated him as if he was on her level. ... She was a shining star. She was a can-do girl. Her accomplishments at 16 are unbelievable." 

Taylor was a member of the Matanzas High School Band and the school's Drama Club, and enjoyed archery, surfing and reading. She was a cast member for the school's planned production of "Sweeney Todd," scheduled to open in late April.

The crash happened at about 8:50 p.m. March 2, according to a Florida Highway Patrol news release. The two young women were walking north along the right shoulder of Lakeview Boulevard near Laramie Drive.

Lakeview Boulevard is the extension of Belle Terre Parkway north of its intersection with Matanzas Woods Parkway.

Daytona Beach resident Yajaira Rojas Torres, 37, was driving north on Lakeview in a Honda Civic. 

"Torres was unable to see the pedestrians due to the area being very dark, and the pedestrians were wearing darker colored clothing," the Florida Highway Patrol news release stated. 

Torres struck both of them.

Taylor died at the scene of the crash. Sherman was transported by helicopter to UF Health Jacksonville in serious condition. 

Taylor was a 10th-grader at Matanzas, and the school district has provided counseling at the school to help the school community after her death. 

"We had counselors the campus all day today to talk to the students and faculty and staff," school district spokesman Jason Wheeler said March 3. "We’re also having counselors available tomorrow (Saturday, March 4) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and as needed next week. We’re reaching out to know that our students are OK. (Taylor) is a popular student, active in the fine arts programs."

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