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Funeral Services Set For Girl Who Died In Crash With Sick Dog

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Taylor Mae Stinchcomb and her dog.  (Credit: CBS)

Taylor Mae Stinchcomb and her dog. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 2:45 p.m. on 6/23/2011

GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) – Funeral services have been scheduled for a 15-year-old Gurnee girl who was killed in a tragic crash near Grayslake, which also took the life of her sick dog.

Visitation for Taylor Mae Stinchcomb will be 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Immanuel Church of Gurnee, 2300 Dilleys road, following by funeral services at 11:30 a.m. at the church, the teen’s family announced Thursday. Mourners are invited to attend a luncheon afterward. Family members said the purpose of the events will be to celebrate Taylor’s life and her impact on others.

Taylor was upset that her dog might have to be euthanized due to cancer. So she took off in her parents’ 2003 Dodge minivan with a friend – a decision that ended up killing her and the dog.

The rollover accident happened around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday on Almond Road just south of Belvidere Road in unincorporated Grayslake, according to Lake County sheriff’s police.

Taylor was originally driving – police have not indicated where, if anywhere, she was destined – but she later because so upset about the dog that she asked her friend to drive, police said.

The girl turned south on Almond Road, headed to Casey Road, then turned around north on Almond Road again. The stretch of Almond Road on which she was driving runs for slightly over a mile through a largely wooded area – dead-ending into Belvidere Road on the north end and Casey Road on the south with no cross-streets in between.

It was as the girl headed back north on Almond Road that she lost control of the van and hit several trees and a utility pole on the east side of the road, police said.

Taylor was trapped in the passenger seat, and had to be extricated by Grayslake firefighters. She was breathing and talking before being taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, but later died from apparent multiple internal injuries, police said.

The dog also died in the accident, police said. Details about the dog’s injuries were not released.

On Thursday, loved ones gathered at the area Immanuel Church in Gurnee, the church where Stinchcomb embraced her faith.

“She told me that she looked up to me, but I never got to tell her that she was just a huge role model to me,” said Stinchcomb’s friend, Maggie Harju.

Harju said she was comforted by the turnout at the church.

“It shows me just how much support she had and how much she touched the community,” she said.

Added youth pastor Josh Petersen: “Just watching how she came alongside the kids who didn’t have a friend – they were the first kids she looked for; put an arm around them and Sat down with them. She was great about caring for the least of these.”

Stinchcomb attended Warren Township High School, where she played softball. On Thursday afternoon, her energy were already missed by all who knew her.

“It’s hard to see that she’s gone,” Harju said. “But I want her to know that we’re happy that she’s dancing with God.”

As for the friend who was driving during the crash, she survived, and information about her injuries were not specified. Police said charges could be brought against her.

Sheriff’s investigators have been probing the exact cause of the crash.

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