Hundreds of California Highway Patrol employees attended a solemn ceremony Tuesday to remember Officer Nathan Daniel Taylor.
Taylor died Sunday of injuries suffered when he was hit by an SUV on Saturday on snowy Interstate 80 in the Gold Run area.
The gathering at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento featured the tolling of a bell once in honor of Taylor, a six-year veteran of the CHP. One hulking officer wiped away tears, others bear-hugged each other.
Taylor’s family attended as well, quietly marking the passing of the 35-year-old husband, father of three young children and exemplary officer.
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Taylor worked out of the small, tight-knit Gold Run office. His commanding officer, Lt. Dave Jenkins, said Taylor went above the call of duty all the time.
226 officers have been killed in the line of duty in the 87-year history of the CHP.
“He was a very selfless person,” said Jenkins. “It is a terrible loss for us and a terrible loss for the people of California.”
Taylor’s personnel file became so choked with laudatory letters from the public that a new file had to be started. It was not out of the ordinary for Taylor to buy broke motorists tire chains so they could make their way over mountain highways.
Before the ceremony, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow spoke about the valiant efforts to save the officer at the scene of the crash and later at the hospital.
The incident happened about 2:25 p.m. Saturday. Taylor stood at the rear of his patrol vehicle redirecting traffic near a crash on westbound Interstate 80 at Castle Peak Road. The SUV driver, Ivy Soon Young Villnow, 19, changed lanes and accelerated to get around slowing traffic.
The CHP said the Truckee resident lost control of her SUV, which hit Taylor.
The officer was knocked several feet. The SUV also hit a snow bank.
An off-duty emergency medical technician saw the crash and rendered aid to the officer. Taylor was taken by ambulance to Renown Hospital in Reno.
Specialized medical equipment meant to help the officer was being airlifted from Stanford University, but foul weather delayed its arrival at the hospital.
“We thought we could save him,” said Farrow. “But he took a turn for the worse Sunday night.”
In addition to his wife and children, Taylor also is survived by his parents, a sister, and three brothers, one of whom is a CHP officer assigned to the Clear Lake Area.