Girl Killed In Go-Kart Crash Wasn't In Seat Belt

Racetrack Official: Karts Designed Without Restraints So Drivers Are Thrown Clear

A 9-year-old Aurora girl killed in a go-kart crash Sunday wasn't wearing a seat belt because the karts are designed without restraints so drivers are thrown clear of wrecks, a Grand Junction Motor Speedway owner said Monday.

"Go-karts are designed that in the event you do … flip, they want you thrown out of the kart," Stacey Cook, managing partner of the group that owns the speedway, told

"A go-kart weighs about as much as a dirt bike, so they want you thrown away from the … cart" so it doesn't pin the driver, said Cook, whose 16-year-old daughter is also a kart racer.

Taybor Lee Duncan was taking a prerace practice lap Sunday morning in a go-kart when she crested a hill and came down it as a maintenance worker on an ATV pulling a trailer crossed the track to clear another kart accident, Cook and Mesa County sheriff's officials said. Taybor was going roughly 45 mph.

Taybor's kart clipped the trailer and flipped several times, sheriff's spokeswoman Sally Weese said.

Weese said initial reports indicated Taybor was ejected as the kart flipped, but investigators are trying to confirm whether or not she was thrown from the kart.

Weese initially said the girl was wearing a seat belt, but she said Monday "there were no seat belts built into the go-kart and that's standard." Taybor was wearing a safety helmet and a chest protector.

Emergency crews attempted to revive the girl, but she died later at a local hospital from multiple injuries, the coroner's office said.

Cook said emergency "flaggers" were posted around the track, but they probably didn't have time to warn Taybor that the recovery vehicle was on the track, responding to the earlier accident.

"It happened so quickly that … I don't think anybody had time to react," Cook said.

The horrifying accident occurred just before a Colorado Junior Karting Club race, stunning about 200 spectators, including Taybor's mother and father and other families and children in the close-knit racing community.

"It just rips everybody's heart out what's happened," Cook said, adding that the maintenance worker is "beyond devastated."

"She was on the track practicing and it was just a freak, devastating accident. It has just crushed the whole karting community," Cooke said.

"I can't count how many times I've seen people tip a cart over or flip it and … they get up and walk off," said Cook, adding that during the track's nine-year history only two drivers have had minor injuries.

"I am just so heartbroken for the family," he said.

Taybor's parents, Jason and Tracy Duncan, issued a statement Monday remembering the smiling blond girl who dreamed of becoming a professional racer.

Loved ones created a Facebook memorial page titled: "Taybor Duncan - We love and will forever miss you."

'Taybor, who everybody called 'Tay Tay,' was loved by all who came in contact with her," the statement read. "Her life, short as it may have been, was full of love, smiles, excitement and lots of adventure."

"She enjoyed camping, spending time with family and friends, and her passion was go-kart racing. Her hopes and dreams were to be the next Danica Patrick, who drives both Indy cars and NASCAR cars," the family said.

"Although Taybor left this world much too soon, she will forever be entrenched in the hearts of all who loved her most," the family said. "There will be a hole in all of our hearts for eternity."

Taybor Duncan in her go-kart.