September 24, 2023

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Memorial planned Monday for Plant High student killed in motorcycle crash

TAMPA — A memorial service is planned Monday at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church for Taylor Koulouris, 15, a Plant High School student and a member of the church’s youth community who died from injuries she received in a South Tampa motorcycle crash Friday.

Koulouris was riding in South Tampa on the back of a motorcycle driven by 17-year-old Benjamin Francis when they collided with another vehicle. Francis died Friday from his injuries. Koulouris died at a hospital late Monday, said Kenny Hubbel, a family spokesman and youth chaplain at Palma Ceia Presbyterian.

No time has been set yet for the Monday service. A vigil for Koulouris was held at the church Sunday night.

Hubbell described Koulouris as selfless and nurturing, a caring big sister to her two younger siblings. She spent Sunday mornings with children at the church playground and at times with the children’s ministry programs.

“It was obvious that everyone Taylor led, taught, crafted with or danced with would be considered the lucky one to have Taylor as their ‘big kid’ for the moment,” Hubbell said.

Hubbell said it was a joy spending hours with Koulouris during Bible studies, youth group gatherings and retreats.

“I am grateful that Taylor will continue to live on in our hearts and memories, appearing in our laughter and friendship and most abundantly, in the love that she fostered with so many of us,” he said.

An investigation into the Friday crash continues.

Francis and Koulouris were traveling east on Bay to Bay Boulevard at 12:55 p.m. when they collided with the side of a Kia Sorento headed north on Lois Avenue, police said. The Kia driver had stopped for a stop sign and was proceeding across Bay to Bay but did not see the motorcycle as it approached at a high rate of speed, police said.

The driver of the Kia was injured and taken to a hospital. He is expected to survive, police said.

A spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools said a crisis team has been available at Plant High to offer students counseling in the wake of the deaths.