Roy Exum: Tracking Down Taylor

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

A manhunt following the stealing of a truck during the Las Vegas shooting tragedy came to a delightful close on Monday when Taylor Winston turned himself in to “authorities” in Gilbert, Arizona. The catch is that “headquarters” was the B5 Motors dealership and our “culprit,” a 29-year-old Marine veteran who fought in Afghanistan, is a far-greater hero than a thief.

With the Facebook nation, the Las Vegas police and an adoring public on the lookout, his hope of obscurity was dashed when he was quickly tracked down in San Diego. Yes, all of the major news outlets pounced and yesterday he was back in Vegas to be awarded the keys to a free and sparkling Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Watson, you may remember, had to literally steal a pick-up truck from a parking lot after automatic gunfire interrupted the two-step dance he was enjoying. He and his girlfriend were at the deadly Route 91 Harvest music concert in Las Vegas nine days ago. But after they raced to safety, he commandeered a white Chevy that the owner had miraculously left the keys in the switch, defied the constant gunfire and frantically packed as many of the critically wounded as he could into the truck before speeding to Desert Springs Hospital.

Then he raced the stolen truck back to the still-riotous scene and loaded as many more of the badly-hurt concert victims as the truck would hold, rushing them to the same hospital. Accounts vary but there is no doubt he saved the lives of many of the 30 victims he rescued.

"It's very, very courageous what he did," dealership owner Shane Beus told an Arizona newspaper. "He was willing to risk his life and run back into the storm and help. I don’t care if he keeps the truck, gives it away, or sells it … I just want to express my appreciation for what he did.”

The owner of the stolen truck was also thrilled with the Marine’s bravery. After getting Winston’s cell number from police, the unidentified owner sent this unedited text: "Hey Taylor told you might have the keys to my truck?? All I want is the key. Other then that its all water under the bridge to me and hows the people you hauled doing?"

Taylor immediately replied, "I have em for ya. When do you want to meet for em? We're at the Monte Carlo. I took about 30 critically injured to the hospital. Your truck was extremely important saving those peoples lives. I don't know if they all made it. Sorry about doing so and all the blood"

Seconds later, Taylor added, “I saved the tool box too. We pulled it out to carry more people but put it back in after the third trip.” (By then emergency responders had secured the scene.)

Winston downplayed his heroics. “There’s a lot of unsung heroes that day who just wanted to help people.” He explained when the shooting began, he and his girlfriend ran for safety. “There was this fence and I threw a bunch of people over it.  I saw a parking lot filled with trucks and the first one I opened had the keys in it … I started looking for people to take to the hospital,” Winston told CBS. “There was just too many, and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere.”

“We went back into the gunfire and started looking for priority victims, people with the most serious injuries, to get to the hospital,” Winston said.

He said he joined the Marines right after high school and served until recently. He credited the Corps with his ability to remain calm and focused, and says he’ll keep the truck. He’ll sell his older car and – you guessed it – give all the proceeds to the Las Vegas victims’ fund.

Semper Fi. Indeed.

royexum@aol.com



Chip Baker Is The Right Pick For District 2

I choose Chip Baker to be my representative for District 2 on the Hamilton County Commission. I choose Chip Baker because he is a strong supporter of public education. Build it and they will come. Signal Mountain residents had been dreaming of a high school for 50 years. Chip Baker played a pivotal role in bringing all the necessary parties together to make it happen. His 12 years ... (click for more)

Rosabelle Gorman Is A Leader

District 3 needs a leader, not a follower, and anyone who has listened to Rosabelle Gorman can attest that she is a person with fresh ideas and strong concerns about some of the past actions of the County Commission.  Being a young mother herself, she has a vested interest in improving the Hamilton County schools and the economic viability of new families facing the increasing ... (click for more)

State Democrats Refile Suit In Hamilton County Seeking To Keep Robin Smith Off The Ballot; Election Commission Calls Emergency Meeting

The Tennessee Democratic Party has refiled a lawsuit seeking to keep former state GOP Chairman Robin Smith off the ballot in the Aug. 2 primary ballot. In response, the Election Commission has called an emergency meeting for Monday at 9 a.m. The case has been assigned to Chancellor Pam Fleenor. State Democrats are asking for an expedited hearing. Ms. Smith was ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed Multiple Times At Park Village Apartments

Jeanette Tulloss, 51, was found on the ground outside Park Village Apartments early Tuesday morning. Police said she had sustained multiple stab wounds to her back. Following the incident, Shana Smith, 33, was arrested for attempted homicide and aggravated assault. Officers spoke to Ms. Tulloss in the emergency room of Erlanger Hospital. She said she was approached by Ms. Smith ... (click for more)

UTC Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Resigns

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced the resignation of wrestling head coach Heath Eslinger today.  Eslinger, who spent nine seasons as head coach of his alma mater, informed Wharton of his decision this morning.  "It was always my hope that Heath Eslinger spend the rest of his career leading our wrestling ... (click for more)

Vols' Nigel Warrior Named To Bednarik Award Watch List

Tennessee junior defensive back  Nigel Warrior  has been named to the 2018 Bednarik Award Watch List. Warrior is the first Vol to be named to the Bednarik Watch list since the defensive trio of Derek Barnett, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton were named to the Bednarik's preliminary list in 2016.   Warrior totaled 83 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss ... (click for more)