Richard J. Taylor, a department store maintenance worker and college student, died early Sunday after apparently falling asleep at the wheel of his car and striking a tree near the intersection of Interstate 95 and the Baltimore Beltway.
The Carney resident was 20.
He had worked at the Nordstrom store in Towson since 1993. He started in men's furnishings and transferred to maintenance, where his responsibilities included lighting, air conditioning and working on special events.
Damon Derossi, director of maintenance at Nordstrom and a close friend, said Mr. Taylor "was very friendly with all those he came in contact with. People seemed to be drawn to him."
The two men shared an interest in mountain biking. "He was very athletic" and had just bought a pair of in-line skates, Mr. Derossi said, adding that Mr. Taylor was "a fine carpenter."
"When he was 17, he built a deck for our house," said his mother, Kathleen Taylor of Carney. "He was so precise and was always painting and doing things that needed to be done around the house. I never had to ask him to do anything; he'd just do it on his own.
"He was good with people of all ages and took a particular interest in a blind neighbor who lived in the neighborhood.
"When he was 12, he rode his bike in the Multiple Sclerosis Bike-A-Thon from Baltimore to Annapolis and back. In two days, we rode 97 miles, and he was way ahead of me."
Born and reared in Carney, Mr. Taylor was a 1992 graduate of Loch Raven Senior High School and was studying business at Essex Community College at night.
A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Isaac Jogues Roman Catholic Church, 9215 Old Harford Road in Carney, with interment in Parkwood Cemetery.
Other survivors include his father, James E. Taylor of Forest Hill; his grandparents, Wilson S. and I. Rebecca Taylor of Carney; two uncles, Ernest C. Velten of Carney and John M. Velten of Parkville; two aunts, Mary Frances Chrisley of Towson and Nancy Saville of Carney; and a special friend, Maria Calabretta of Parkville.
Memorial donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Maryland Chapter, 1055 Taylor Ave., Baltimore 21286.