An all-terrain vehicle crash killed the driver of the machine and left a passenger with minor injuries.
From the Facebook messages left by those mourning Paul Joel Taylor, 23, of Mineral Point, it's obvious that he was a hardworking, respectful, and funny young man.
"It's devastating, [what happened to him]," said one of Taylor's co-workers, Jimmy Cantalope, 20, in a telephone interview. He worked with Taylor in the Madison Line coal mines for the past year and a half. "Stuff happens when you are having the best time of your life."
Taylor, a Central Cambria High School alumnus was driving a two-seat ATV between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday when he lost control of the machine and went over the side of a bridge along an abandoned railway adjacent to Williams Run Creek, Cambria Township.
Taylor died at the scene of the crash, but a passenger on the two-person machine survived with "minor to moderate injuries," according to an Ebensburg state police report.
Brianna Rose Fox, 22, of Johnstown was wearing a seat belt, but no helmet when the ATV crashed. Taylor was neither wearing a helmet nor a seat belt.
Taylor sustained massive head injuries as the ATV went over the bridge, struck a stone retaining wall and landed in a creek.
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which registers ATVs that are sold in the state, recommends staying on trails made specifically for ATVs to decrease safety risks.
But just two weeks ago, a 15-year-old from Bedford County died after losing control of his ATV while participating in a race organized by the Blair-Bedford Drag Racers Inc. at the Bedford County Dirt Racers Track near New Enterprise.
Taylor's friends have decorated his Facebook page with passages to honor him. Many of his friends noted their appreciation of his effort to always shake hands with people and smile at them.
Cantalope, 20, of Bakerton has known Taylor through seeing him in the coal mines of Mundy's Corner. Taylor was employed by Amfire Mining LLC as a "scoop guy;" he shoveled coal, Cantalope said.
"He was a funny, hardworking kid," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435.