Washington State Ferry oiler, David Taylor, died in a car accident in Bellingham on Dec. 21.
He was driving home from the ferry on what would turn out to be his last shift.
In an internal WSF letter released to the Journal by WSF Communication Director, Ian Sterling, it stated, “This is not the holiday message I had hoped to send. Unfortunately, it is with great sadness that I’ve learned of the passing of a member of our WSF family. Taylor joined the agency in April of 2017 and most recently served as an Oiler on the Samish.”
The letter also stated that the icy conditions are suspected to be a factor in his death. According to Washington State Patrol Trooper Jacob Kennett in a statement released to KGMI radio, David Taylor had rolled his car at a turn on Lake Samish Road at 6:30 a.m. He then left his vehicle and was struck by two other cars that had also lost control.
His crewmates are now mourning his loss. Chris Kilinski served as Taylor’s Chief while working in Spokane. Kilinski is now Chief of the Salish in Port Townsend.
“Dave was a good shipmate and I always looked forward to working with Dave,” Kilinksi said.
Ken Farley has worked for WSF for 30 years and is currently a Relief Chief.
“I have worked with many great and caring people. Dave Taylor was one of them,” he wrote in an email to the Journal. “I will miss you Dave.”
Ian Price, an engineer with WSF, said he worked with Taylor just a few times, but was impacted by his time spent with him. “There was a long conversation that we had that has really stuck with me,” he said. “I would soon learn that he was a very thoughtful man who spent a lot of time pondering life’s big questions.”
While Price said Taylor’s breadth of knowledge impressed him, his kindness also stood out.
“Dave was always kind and respectful to the people around him and was a great shipmate,” he added.
With bad weather and being short of an oiler, the ferry schedule is now down to two boats and is loading at 50% capacity. WSF is actively working to fill his position.
WSF held a moment of silence on Friday to honor Taylor. Driving conditions are likely to remain unsafe throughout the week.