Update: Condition of 16-year-old girl improves following fatal rollover

Taylor Carlton, 16, of Veyo, remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center after being critically injured during a rollover on state Route 18 in Dammeron Valley, St. George, Utah, photo date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pray4Tay Facebook page, St. George News

Update: Taylor Carlton reportedly opened her eyes, gave her mother two thumbs up, and is making a “significant amount of progress,” according to a post on the Pray4Tay Facebook page created by Carlton’s family to provide updates on her recovery.

ST. GEORGE — A 16-year-old girl remains in a coma Friday after being critically injured Sunday during a vehicle rollover on state Route 18 that left the 18-year-old driver dead.

Five days after the rollover, Taylor Carlton, of Veyo, is listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George where she was transported via Life Flight following the crash.

Taylor Carlton, 16, of Veyo, remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center after being critically injured during a rollover on state Route 18 in Dammeron Valley, St. George, Utah, photo date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pray4Tay Facebook page, St. George News
Taylor Carlton, 16, of Veyo, remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center after being critically injured during a rollover on state Route 18 in Dammeron Valley, St. George, Utah, photo date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pray4Tay Facebook page, St. George News

Carlton was being driven home by her friend, Dixie High School student Drex Taylor, at about 3:40 a.m. The two were a couple miles from Carlton’s home when Drex Taylor apparently fell asleep and the car veered off the highway in Dammeron Valley traveling 65-70 mph, according to the Pray4Tay Facebook page created by Carlton’s family to provide updates on her recovery.

The vehicle drifted across the road to the opposite shoulder, turned 360 degrees and began to roll. Drex Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene after the car rolled twice and both teens, who were not wearing their seat belts, were ejected from the car. Carlton was found approximately 70 feet from the vehicle.

“In route (to the hospital) her lung collapsed and covered her heart stopping all blood flow to her heart,” Carlton’s family said in a Facebook post. “We were told they believed she wouldn’t make it to the hospital. They called ‘Code Blue’ and she passed. Fortunately, they were able to bring her back.”

Carlton suffered multiple fractures to her skull, face, pelvic bone and spine, according to her family. Her sternum and all of the ribs on her right side are broken. Carlton also suffered contusions on her spleen and pancreas along with a lacerated lung and severe road rash on her body.

Taylor Carlton, 16, of Veyo, remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center after being critically injured during a rollover on state Route 18 in Dammeron Valley, St. George, Utah, photo date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pray4Tay Facebook page, St. George News
Taylor Carlton, 16, of Veyo, remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center after being critically injured during a rollover on state Route 18 in Dammeron Valley, St. George, Utah, photo date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Pray4Tay Facebook page, St. George News

On Thursday morning, Carlton had a tracheostomy – a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea to provide an airway for breathing – along with a feeding tube placed in her side.

By Thursday afternoon, doctors began to ween Carlton off sedation to see if she will start to respond to direct commands.

“Taylor is moving more, we can see her eyes are somewhat active while closed and she did open them once today,” according to the Thursday update. “Stimulation is still to be kept at a minimum.”

Taylor’s Recovery Fund GoFundMe page, set up Sunday to help raise money for Carlton’s medical expenses, had garnered $6,352 from 90 people in five days.

“Taylor’s MRI provided positive and encouraging results,” according to the GoFundMe page. “While she is still in a coma with multiple fractures throughout her body, her MRI suggests that damage to her brain is very minimal. Her journey to recovery will take time, but we are positive that each day she will continue to make progress.”

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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18 Comments

  • Bob May 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    i think she will make a good recovery. pls drive safe out there people!

  • ladybugavenger May 27, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Heartbreaking. Prayers to the families.

  • 42214 May 27, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Ask this young girl if seatbelt laws are an infringement on your personal liberty. I don’t condone a nanny state but sometimes you have to protect people from their own ignorance.

    • Paul Bottino May 28, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I totally agree. We see this in the news almost every day around here. If you stay in the car you have a better chance.
      I think they should make it so you can’t start the car unless the belts are buckled. My RZR will almost only idle unless I buckle the belt.

    • .... May 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

      I have seatbelts on when I’m in the car and glad I did when ladybug ran into me . she got a citation for talking on a cell phone and drinking coffee and cooking a hard boiled egg and doing laundry and grooming the dog and loading the dishwasher and polishing her glass eye while driving.

      • Real Life May 29, 2016 at 8:59 am

        Oh man! More comedy gold from Dumpster. You are the best!

        • .... May 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

          Look everybody little whining Real Life Dork feels left out. …yawwwwnnnnn

    • Bob May 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      maybe in driver’s ed courses they can show the teens some of the uncensored accident crash photos where a seat belt wasn’t used. This type of psychology has been used in anti-smoking ads, and it does work. Can’t escape the fact that teens do idiotic things. A good number die on the roads each year…

      • DB May 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        I remember seeing films like you describe in Driver’s Ed but that was 45 years ago. I hate to make ‘Lastdays’ angry, but is it too soon to ask why these two kids were driving at 3:40am?

    • Lastdays May 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Yea, beating up on someone while they’re already down must “really” make you feel good about yourself.

      • .... May 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Well actually we’re making fun of you ! Duuuuuuuhhhhhhhh

      • 42214 May 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        Feels great Lastdays. How you construe these comments as beating up on someone as shows what a simpleton you are.

      • ladybugavenger May 29, 2016 at 10:31 am

        I don’t see 42214 beating up on this girl. You must be a Hilary fan. Liberalism at its worst.

  • Chiefs Fan May 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I agree, Lastdays! People need to have compassion! Isn’t this tragic enough that one one person lost their life, and another is fighting for hers. My heartfelt condolences go out to both families on this tragic accident. May this beautiful young woman make a speedy and full recovery.

  • Jeannette May 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Prayers for the families and young lady. My heart goes out to both families. Yes, seat belts save lives, but this is not the place or time to debate. Stay positive and in prayer for all involved.

    • 42214 May 28, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      I agree. Get better and go out and drive around without seatbelts because this isn’t the time to debate such things, blah blah blah.

    • ladybugavenger May 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

      It is the perfect time to tell everyone to Buckle Up!

    • .... May 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      This is a public forum where people can debate anything they want at anytime they want. .you don’t have to read the commentary here. you can always take your dog for walk instead

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