KOKOMO, IND. — More than 100 people gathered for the vigil at the family’s yard Monday night. Friends describe the ceremony as light-hearted and full of laughter — just like the guy Blake was.
It happened Sunday night on State Road 26, four miles east of Fairmount. Police say Taylor was on his way back to school when his car flipped over in a ditch that was four to five feet deep in water. Grant Count deputies believe Taylor was under water for 10 to 12 minutes.
Officers went into the water and towed the car to the road. EMTs attempted CPR on Taylor, but he was taken to a Marion hospital and pronounced dead.
“I’m not even sure how to take it right now,” said Jordan Carpenter, who grew up with Taylor in Kokomo. “[I’m] very shocked — just can’t describe it.”
Friends say Taylor was a star baseball and tennis player, who had a way of making everyone feel better about themselves.
“He loved just being around people. He would always make you smile no matter what,” said Cody Yeakel, Taylor’s childhood friend.
That is exactly how Blake’s friends want to remember him.
“I feel as though he never had a bad day,” said Jeff Blankenberger, Taylor’s friend. “Even if he had a bad day he’d still be smiling. He’d still joke around. I really admire him for that.”
“I know we’ve had a lot of tears already,” said Carpenter. “But for him, he probably wouldn’t want us to cry.”
Taylor was a freshman at Ball State studying business. Vice President for Student Affairs, Kay Bales, sent a statement:
“I extend our deepest sympathies to Blake’s family and friends. The loss of such a young man is especially saddening. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.”