School Mourns ‘Tay’ Tabeson, Concerned for 2 Injured
The Skyline community lost senior Jonas “Tay” Tabeson in a car crash near King City, California. The death has cast a pall over the school, and those who knew Tabeson are feeling the full weight of the tragedy.
Seniors Matt Mercier and Ryan Thompson, who attended Bishop O’Dowd with Tay before all three transferred to Skyline, were severely injured in the crash.
According to the Highway Patrol, the car Tabeson was driving rolled over multiple times after hitting the center divide of northbound Highway 101 around 5 p.m., on a Thursday, April 19, about 150 miles south of Oakland.
Thompson flew from the vehicle but was most responsive to emergency personnel. He is now at home with several bone fractures, but he will recover. As of this writing (April 27), Mercier is still in a coma, and it is not clear when or if he will regain consciousness, according to junior Parker Dobbs, who talked with Mercier’s family.
Dobbs said Mercier was in an induced coma until the Wednesday following the accident. While keeping him in a coma, doctors removed a piece of his skull and, after taking several scans, discovered bleeding inside his brain. Mercier’s father will inform friends once they are allowed to visit him in San Jose.
“People have recovered from Matt’s situation before, so we just have to stay positive, keep him in our prayers,” said Dobbs.
Tabeson will be remembered as an amiable, caring friend who frequently displayed his smile to classmates, they said, adding that his actions had an even larger effect on those around him than did his smile.
“He was sweet, caring . . . a best friend of mine,” said junior Alexandra Ojeda. “Last year he would lend me his skateboard and we would skate together, and we’d just end up laughing. That’s how we became close.”
Junior Norrisha Cooper said, “He was happy, always smiling, and very friendly. I had class with him last year . . . he always had something nice to say, and he loved to skateboard. We’ll miss him, everybody that knew him.”
Dobbs agreed. “Tay was a really happy person, always smiling, really energetic . . . people who knew him always thought he was funny,” he said. “People were fond of him around campus; he didn’t have any enemies. My last memory of him is when we were coming back from a field trip, the day before it happened. We saw him walking with a girl, and we waved at him and he waved back and smiled.”
The day after the accident, students taped “RIP Tay” posters with Tabeson’s picture on several hallway walls. Grief counselors were in the staff cafeteria all day the following Friday and Monday to support grieving students.
Both Mercier and Tabeson were enrolled in Mr. Johnson’s U.S. Government class. “They were working their way to graduating, they were positive,” said Johnson. “This last month they were really turning around. Tay was incredible at skateboarding, he showed me a few things in class when I didn’t want him to, but he was impressive! They were good guys, both planning to go to college, planning for a future. I feel for their parents, I feel for their friends.”
Another of these friends, junior Kimberly Miranda, had experiences with Tabeson that reflect his support for his peers. “We were going to a party, and he was going to walk me to the bus stop, but we wound up going to a friend’s house. My friend and I fell asleep, and he left really quietly, without waking us up or disturbing anything.”
She added, “He was the first one to comfort me about an incident I had over the summer; he helped me. He’s never done anything wrong to me or anyone that I know.”
Dobbs said, “It’s a horrible thing, a tragedy. Keep [all three] in your prayers.”
The accident happened only days before Senior Prom. A moment of silence was held at the dance in Tabeson’s honor.