Toward recovery

Hit-and-run victim searches for patience, accountability

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

Joseph Taylor, once an active 25-year-old man, spent the last three weeks looking out a window from his house.

With his left leg perched on top of three pillows, he watches the cars drive by a downtown Fairfield street and waits for each day to pass. He hopes they come quicker, so he can heal faster.

Taylor is a victim of a hit-and-run accident that took place Sept. 2. He was exiting Interstate 80 onto Travis Boulevard on his motorcycle when a Ford Explorer traveling 60 mph struck him. As his body flew into the air, the driver of the Explorer dragged the motorcycle one block before stopping. The six passengers then fled the scene.

Since then, three of the six people allegedly in the vehicle have been apprehended. The alleged driver, Derrick Lafrance, 19, is still missing.

Taylor was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, suffering a fractured hip, shattered leg and a concussion. A steel rod was placed in his leg after a 6.5-hour surgery.

"I don't know if I'll have a full recovery until I go to physical therapy and I don't know if I can do manual labor again," said Taylor, who was a roofer for eight years.

Taylor can't recall many details when asked of the accident. He only remembers leaving his friend's house then waking inside a hospital room surrounded by family.

He looks at pictures of the accident, taken by a family friend, and sees his shoes near the exit and gloves by the side of Travis Boulevard. But he still can't remember. The only thing vivid right now is the pain he feels in his leg.

"They drilled a hole through my heel to reset the bone," he says and pauses. Pain falls across his thin face. His girlfriend, Shana Benscoter, 20, goes into the house to get his medicine.

Taylor lacked insurance when struck by the Explorer and is inundated in medical bills that include rehabilitation and therapy.

To help offset the costs, his family is having a fund-raiser on Saturday at the Eagles Club in Suisun City. Donations can also be made to the Joey Taylor Fund, 719 Webster St., Fairfield, Calif. 94533.

Particles of glass are still embedded in his left arm, stabbing into his skin whenever he leans on it. His life has changed for a while, but still, Taylor is not holding grudges.

"I really don't have anger toward them. I just wish they'd find him so that he can be responsible for what he did," he says.