BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — “It was that smile, I mean she literally had a smile that could light up a room,” said Menyorn Whitby who taught crash victim Taporsha Caldwell when she attended Carver High School.
Thursday night, family and friends gathered in Railroad Park to remember Taporsha, her son Mason and her boyfriend Robert Moore who were all killed in a car crash near Finley Boulevard on I-65 southbound.
According to police, the victim’s SUV was plowed into from behind by an 18 wheeler, crashing into another tractor trailer in front of them.
A mix of emotions best described the vigil, while many were comforted sharing the fond memories of Taporsha Caldwell, someone with such a bright personality who many said would do anything for anybody.
That very thing pained them knowing that her son and her boyfriend were no longer with them.
“She became apart of my family,” said Whitby. “So in 20 years of teaching, I’ve never taken a student home and Taporsha is the one kid that baby sat my kids.”
Her love for children was on no greater display than her dying efforts to save her own, “she was tough, and she loved Jase and Mason,” Whitby added.
18-month old Mason also died in the crash, but her only surviving son Jase, who was released from the hospital Tuesday, will always know his mother died to save him, but family and friends said that’s just who Taporsha was.
“She left [Alabama] A&M and all her friends, she came here she enrolled at UAB, she started working,” she worked at the BJCC – that’s where she met her boyfriend Robert Moore who also died in the crash.
“All I could think of is I should have called her last week,” Whitby said.
Taporsha was raised in a loving community by her grandmother Minerva who was too shaken up to speak on camera and even her mother, Dora who had few words, but said she appreciated the light that her daughter spread to others.
“I told her mom, thank you for sharing Taporsha with me, you know I’m not trying to take your place it takes a village, I’m just here to help and she would just light up,” Whitby said.