A California Highway Patrol officer has died from injuries suffered Saturday when he was struck by an out-of-control sport-utility vehicle in wintry conditions along westbound Interstate 80 near Donner Summit, according to CHP officials.
The officer, Nathan Daniel Taylor, 35, of Rocklin, died from his injuries late Sunday night.
CHP Lt. Sven Miller said the incident happened about 2:25 p.m. Saturday. Taylor was outside of his vehicle investigating a crash in the area of westbound Interstate 80 at Castle Peak Road when an SUV went out of control and struck the officer.
Taylor was directing traffic at the rear of his patrol vehicle, getting passing motorists to move to the right. As he waved traffic over, Ivy Soon Young Villnow, 19, of Truckee, was driving the SUV westbound on I-80 approaching the officer and changed lanes to get around slowing traffic.
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When she changed from the right to the left lane, she accelerated and passed the slowing traffic, eventually coming upon Taylor directing traffic, according to a CHP press release. The CHP said that Villnow lost control of her SUV, causing the vehicle to hit Taylor.
Taylor was knocked several feet and landed face down in a center median snow bank. The SUV also hit the snow bank.
An off-duty emergency medical technician who saw the crash rendered aid to the officer. CHP officers were at the scene within minutes.
The incident, which happened in snowy conditions, remains under investigation. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash.
Miller said weather in the area was bad enough to abandon plans to transport the injured officer by helicopter. Instead, Miller said Taylor was taken by ambulance to Renown Hospital in Reno.
Taylor was a member of the CHP for six years. He was part of the CHP’s Gold Run Area office and was surrounded by colleagues, family and friends at the hospital when he died.
"It is an incredibly sad day for Officer Taylor's family, the CHP, and the State of California,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “The loss of an officer protecting our community is truly devastating. I would personally like to thank all of our partners, including the medical staff who fought so hard on behalf of Officer Taylor.”
Taylor graduated from the CHP academy in 2010 and was assigned to a San Jose office. In 2013, he transferred to Gold Run office in the Sierra.
“Anne and I extend our heartfelt condolences to Officer Taylor’s family, friends and the entire California Highway Patrol community,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement. “We are grateful for Officer Taylor, who served the state with great distinction. ”
He is survived by his wife; three sons, ages 3, 5 and 8; his parents; and two brothers. One of his brothers is a CHP officer in the Clear Lake area.
Funeral services are pending.