Navy veteran killed in Champaign Co. accident actively drew his family members together.
A local family, along with other members in neighboring counties, are mourning the recent loss of their loved one, 33 year-old Todd Bayless, who was killed on October 7 in Champaign County when another driver allegedly caused a multiple-vehicle accident on State Route 68.
Todd's cousin, Kaleigh Young of Urbana, said that although Todd was in his thirties, he had the vibrant, bright personality of a teenager almost. She launched a GoFundMe page for Todd's family's medical bills, as he was one of seven family members in the van at the time of the crash, including Todd's wife Amber, their three young children Kaelyn, Olivia, and Logan, as well as Todd's grandmother Jula and Amber's brother Zack. Amber, Jula, and the two younger children were seriously injured, with Amber and the children being flown from the accident via Careflight.
"Todd wouldn't want his family to struggle," Young said of setting up the fundraiser, noting that the family's medical bills are compounded by so many of them being affected at once.
Young remembered her cousin Todd as being the binding agent that kept his family rallied together.
"He was always the first one to ask 'where are we having Thanksgiving,' or 'who's doing Christmas this year,'" she said. "He was pretty much the glue of our family."
Young said Todd's aunt and uncle, Christina and Jeff Bayless, who live in the Tecumseh School District, are coping with Todd's loss, along with the rest of the family, stating that everyone is handling it in different ways.
She said Todd was notorious for taking whatever steps necessary to improve the lives of others, no matter the cost to him.
"It didn't matter if he didn't have the time or money to help, he 'd make it," said Young, adding that it wasn't uncommon for Todd to reschedule his day to visit someone who needed to talk. "Sometimes he'd even go pick up Amber and the kids and take them too, they'd make it a family thing."
When asked if Todd's willingness to help others was what she thought Todd would want to be remembered for, Young agreed, stating: "He never meant to do it--it was just built into his character."
She affectionately described Todd as being "a nerd," describing his love of all things technological and video games. He was an avid gamer who also enjoyed the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics. Todd worked as an IT Specialist at Rittal in Urbana, and served in the United States Navy after graduating early from a homeschool program.
The family said their final farewells this past Monday at Todd's funeral in Urbana, and they're now focused on dealing with their loss while continuing to support and promote healing among others injured in the accident.
To help support the Bayless family in the coming weeks ahead, visit www.gofundme/in-memory-of-todd-bayless.