Boy, 12, dies in accident

A seventh-grade boy from Stagecoach died Saturday in a four-wheeling accident in Moffat County.

Travis Taber, a 12-year-old student at Steamboat Springs Middle School, was riding a four-wheeler in the Sandwash Basin area to collect firewood when the accident occurred, said his father, Phillip Taber.

Travis had brought a few loads of wood back to the group when he went out for another trip, Taber said. When Travis took too long to return, the group fanned out to look for him, and found his four-wheeler had overturned.

"We were just trying to get a last ride in before the season ended," a tearful Taber said Sunday. "We do this all the time."

The Sandwash Basin is a popular spot for four-wheeling. It is on Bureau of Land Management land northwest of Maybell.

Moffat County Coroner Owen Grant was not prepared to make a ruling on the cause of death Sunday, other than that the death was a direct result of the accident.

Grant, who was not at the scene, said it was his understanding, based on a conversation with a Moffat County sheriff's deputy, that the four-wheeler overturned and pinned the victim underneath.

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead refused to comment on the investigation Sunday, saying information would not be released until today.

Taber said there were no problems reaching emergency responders despite the remote location of the accident.

The father and son had decided to take a four-wheeling trip after Travis played in a football game against Craig Middle School Saturday afternoon. Travis was a tight end.

After the game, the pair returned home to Stagecoach and Travis helped his father load a trailer for the trip. They were joined in the Sandwash Basin area by a few friends, Taber said.

School officials met Sunday night to develop a crisis response plan to assist students and staff. The school district plans to provide as much help as possible to the Taber family.

Superintendent Donna Howell said counselors and school officials would be available to meet with parents and students at 5 p.m. today at the middle school. Counselors also will be available Tuesday. Howell said the school district wants to be as sensitive as possible to the Taber family.

A funeral service for Travis Taber will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Yampa Valley Funeral Home.

Susan Cunningham of the Steamboat Pilot & Today staff contributed to this report.

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