The Cicero-North Syracuse community is grieving for a teenager they say was there for everyone. Taylor Fleming, 17, died Sunday from injuries she suffered in a car crash in the Town of Cicero Thursday. Our Kat De Maria spoke with Taylor's friends and family about her life and the difficult days leading up to her death.
CICERO, N.Y. -- Taylor Fleming's sisters say it took some convincing to get her to pose for the family Christmas picture and to pick out this year's tree. But now they're so glad she did, adding more memories to add to an already rich collection they and friends have about Taylor and her life.
"Her smile. It just lit up a room. Her big blue eyes, she's the only one who has blue eyes in our family," said Kaleigh Fleming.
"She used to make a funny little face and shrug her nose. It was so funny," said friend Justin Ager.
"I don't like animals that much and I knew it had to sit on my shoulder so I didn't want to go. And she forced me to go up there and get a picture with her," said sister Jordan Fleming.
Loved ones say Taylor was there for everyone, best illustrated by a letter that arrived at the Fleming's Monday from a student with special needs whom she had befriended.
Students and staff who are grieving at Cicero-North Syracuse High School spoke with counselors and made posters for Taylor's family.
"I can't imagine being a parent and losing your child and having them pass away in front of you. I can't imagine being a student and losing a friend," said C-NS math teacher Kim Crowley.
“Everyone has been very supportive, praying, all their thoughts have been with Taylor," said C-NS House 2 Principal Tim Bednarski.
On Thursday, Taylor had spent the afternoon with her boyfriend, Shawn Radder. She went to Smith Road Elementary to help with the school's tree lighting ceremony, which ended about 8 p.m.
"She called me and told me she had such a great time," said Radder.
It was on Taylor's way home from Smith Road that she had to cross over Northern Boulevard at Totman Road and was hit.
Radder met the Flemings at the hospital and was met by her dad, Dan.
"When I got closer, I saw he was crying. And then it hit me it was serious," Radder said.
"They did so much work on her. We were getting good news. And it kept going up and down. She was fighting hard for us, we know," Kaleigh Fleming said.
After an endless couple of days, Taylor Fleming's loved ones said their goodbyes Sunday.
"It's not an ideal mistletoe, but for being under a lot of stress in the hospital, it's a mistletoe."
Radder says it was Taylor's Christmas wish to be kissed under the mistletoe, which he fulfilled. Then in a symbolic show of commitment, he proposed to her.
"She's my girlfriend, she was my best friend, she's my fiancée and she's always going to be with me," he said.
Memories for those who loved Taylor Fleming to carry with them the rest of their lives.
Calling hours for Taylor Fleming will take place Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Thomas J Pirro Funeral Home in Liverpool. Her funeral will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Margaret's Chuch in Mattydale.