The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

June 23, 2013

Survivor’s harrowing tale of trail

JOHNSTOWN — What started as a joy ride for Brianna Rose Fox ended with the tragic loss of a close friend and a frightening run for help.

Fox, 22, of the Vinco area of Jackson Township and a full-time student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Paul “PJ” Taylor were attending a 40th birthday party for a friend on a farm in the Revloc area of Cambria Township. Fox, who is best friends with his sister, Maggie, asked the 23-year-old to take her for a spin on another friend’s Polaris Razor, which is an all-terrain vehicle with two seats.

It started simply enough.

“PJ took me for a ride. We rode around the farm,” she said.

Eventually, they headed out onto an old railroad line that is now a popular, if unintended, trail for ATV enthusiasts.

“We’ve all been back there before, we just forgot about the bridge,” she said.

“The bridge” is a dilapidated old span across Williams Creek. The yellow steel structure is covered with rotting railroad ties and portions of the bridge have given way in the past, with planks and a piece of tin used to patch the gaping holes in it.

Fox said Taylor tried to stop the vehicle, but that the ATV slid on the shale and crossed the bridge before the vehicle flew over the side.

Taylor struck a stone retaining wall, state police said, and landed in the shallow water about 14 feet beneath the bridge. He sustained massive head injuries and died instantly, according to Cambria County Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Lees.

Taylor was not wearing a helmet or a seat harness, but Fox, thanks to Taylor, was wearing a harness.

“PJ told me to put it on,” she said.

Fox suffered a contusion of her bladder and internal bleeding along with a badly bruised body and a foot injury.

“I don’t remember the impact,” she said.

But she definitely recalls the aftermath.

“I was so frantic at that point,” she said. “I just saw his face in the water. I pulled his face out of the water.”

She checked Taylor for a pulse, put her hand on his chest and thought she felt a deep breath.

“I thought there was hope,” she said. “I climbed the hill and crossed the bridge.”

She had a cellphone with her but it landed in the water after the crash and was of no use. That meant she had to head back the way they had come.

She took off on the isolated trail in the middle of the night, running on the injured foot for nearly a mile.

“I just felt like I was running forever,” she said. “I was afraid something would jump out and attack me. It was very dark and I ran forever.”

She eventually spotted a house, where a resident called 911 for her.

Fox admits she is lucky to be alive today and said she will forever remember Taylor.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 16, 2014

  • Classes to resume at Franklin Regional High School

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    April 16, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 16, 2014

  • bank1 West End bank robbed

    The West End branch of AmeriServ Financial was robbed Tuesday morning, two days before the branch is scheduled to close.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather_2 Old Man Winter returns to area

    Just when you think we’ve finally escaped the cold temperatures, winter swoops back in to remind us it’s not going away just yet.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • City seeks support for sewer revamp

    The city is looking for backup from the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority in spreading what they call “true” facts and figures regarding the city’s encompassing sewer revamp.

    April 15, 2014

  • Airport gets lift with $180G grant

    The John Murtha Johnstown–Cambria County Airport needs to replace some basic maintenance equipment: a pickup truck, painting machine, chain saw, weed eater, hand tools and more.
    So, on Tuesday, the airport’s authority agreed to accept Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Aviation grant money that already has been tentatively allocated.

    April 15, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads