The firefighter community is rallying behind one of their own that was injured in a motorcycle crash on Evansville’s west side earlier this week. Veteran and volunteer German Township Fire Lieutenant Chris Taylor was seriously injured Tuesday evening after a truck pulled out in front of him, police said. While Taylor remains in critical condition, the German Township and McCutchanville fire departments are trying to raise money to help cover Taylor’s mounting medical bills.
The accident happened Tuesday evening near the intersection of the Lloyd Expressway and Rosenberger. Authorities on scene said another motorist crossed in front of Taylor causing the accident. Taylor suffered serious injuries after he was ejected off of his motorcycle. He was wearing his helmet, police said. However, Taylor remains in intensive care with head and abdominal injuries.
Jeremy Nelson, a career firefighter for McCutchanville, knows Taylor through the fire service and through school.
“The initial reaction was shock when we found out that he had been involved in the accident,” Nelson said. “It hits us hard when we find out that one of our own has been hurt, especially when it’s such a critical condition. You want to leave and go there and help out in any way possible.”
Nelson and the other members of McCutchanville Fire Department knows what their brothers and sisters at German Township are going through. Then 18-year-old volunteer firefighter Jeremy Tighe was killed in the line of duty after the fire truck he was riding in tipped over on a narrow portion of St. Joseph Avenue. The fatal accident happened on February 22nd, 2012.
It was the day before what would have been Tighe’s birthday.
“I went to school with Jeremy so a lot of us felt the pain whenever he [died],” Nelson said. “Whenever another community near us — or in the fire service in general — experiences the same [tragedy], your heart feels for them. You’ve been there. You know.”
Every year since Tighe’s death, the McCutchanville Fire Department hosts a chili cook-off fundraiser the Sunday before the anniversary of Tighe’s death. The proceeds from the fundraiser, which is named in Tighe’s honor, typically go to a charity or cause hand-picked by Tighe’s mother.
This year is no different.
“This year, she decided that she wants to donate all the proceeds to the German Township firefighter that was injured,” Nelson said.
The fundraiser will be held on Sunday, February 19th at Fire Station #10 in the 7000-block of St. Joesph Avenue. The event will run from noon until 5pm.
The German Township Fire Department is also doing what it can to assist in Taylor’s recovery. On Thursday, members of the department created a GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover Taylor’s medical and living expenses while he recovers in the hospital. According to the page, Taylor does not have disability insurance with his full-time employer.