UPDATED 06/21/11 11:03 p.m.
GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (CBS) — A 15-year-old girl is dead following a crash near Grayslake, in which she asked a friend to take the wheel because she was too upset that her dog was going to be euthanized.
The dog in question was in the vehicle at the time, and also died in the crash.
As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones explains, he 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.
The girl, identified as Taylor Mae Stinchcomb of Gurnee, joined her friend in taking her parents’ 2003 Dodge minivan – and the dog – without their permission, because she was upset that the dog might soon be put down due to cancer.
Both Taylor and her friend were 15, and thus too young to hold driver’s licenses.
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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.
Taylor’s friend survived, and information about her injuries were not specified. Police say charges could be brought against her.
Sheriff’s investigators are probing the cause of the crash, but do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved. An autopsy on Taylor is scheduled for later Tuesday at the Lake County coroner’s office.
A statement was released by Brian Faulkner, Taylor’s uncle, on the family’s behalf.
“Taylor Stinchcomb above all things loved. She loved her Lord, she loved her family and friends and she loved animals.
She was accomplished in many sports including softball, basketball and particularly loved horseback riding.
She was so very full of life and knew she was right with God. Today all of heaven rejoiced in receiving her.
Because of her tremendous passion for her pet dog who was very very sick, she made a risky decision last night to take our car and her dog to be with a friend. She did this without our knowledge, and without the forethought that we would have hoped she would have, but the fact remains that she was only 15 and no 15 year old makes the right decision every time. None of us is perfect, and that’s why we need God’s grace.
As her family, we are asking for your understanding and compassion, which is exactly what Taylor would have naturally offered to anyone. And we ask all parents, of teens especially, to just love on them and celebrate them every day. Don’t take a single day for granted.”