Girl’s death first fatality at speedway

Taybor Duncan, from a Facebook tribute page.

A hum of go-karts lapping Grand Junction Motor Speedway was replaced with silence Monday as the facility stayed closed, with no firm date to reopen, after the first fatal accident in its 10-year history.

“This isn’t what’s supposed to happen out here,” said Darren Cook, managing member at the speedway. “We’re devastated, and we pray for her family.”

In what was believed to be the girl’s first visit and first few laps at the local speedway, 9-year-old Taybor Duncan of Aurora died Sunday after rolling her go-kart.

The accident happened after she had clipped a flatbed trailer hauled behind an all-terrain vehicle. Authorities have said a man on the ATV went onto the track to reach riders involved in another accident.

The man’s job, which he’s performed for 10 years, is to respond to accidents on the course and ensure that riders are hauled out of harm’s way, Cook said.

“He’s being cared for right now in total shock and is one of the gentlest men you’ll ever meet, great with kids,” Cook said. “He was doing what he was supposed to be doing.”

Cook said he didn’t have an estimate for the number of karts that were on the course at the time of the accident, which happened around 8 a.m.

Taybor and her competitors were making laps in a practice session at the time of the accident, he said.

The regular race was under the guidance of the Denver-based Colorado Junior Karting Association, which had rented the facility for the day and was scheduled to start competition around 10:15 a.m., he said.

Cook said his staff typically are positioned at various places around the course, communicating via radio headsets, and are tasked with raising yellow caution flags to tell riders to slow down in the event of accidents.

The ATV involved in Taybor’s accident was also fitted with a yellow caution flag.

Cook said he didn’t witness Sunday’s accident.

Authorities haven’t offered a speed estimate for Taybor’s go-kart at the time of the collision, but Cook said they can make a maximum of 45 to 50 mph.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said Monday that the accident is still under investigation.


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