Chicago man headed for new career when I-70 crash claimed his life |

Chicago man headed for new career when I-70 crash claimed his life

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Alexander Taft

PARACHUTE ” Alexander Taft was on his way to a new life in California when he died in a head-on collision in the early morning hours Thursday on Interstate 70 near Parachute.

Taft, 27, who had recently obtained a master’s degree, was en route to a screenwriting internship in Los Angeles when, shortly after 1 a.m., his car struck the vehicle belonging to former longtime Aspenite Bruce Edmondson, 71, of Glenwood Springs.

Police said Edmondson, who also died in the collision, was driving on the wrong side of the interstate. According to the Colorado State Patrol, Edmonson was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“He was on his way to L.A. to start his new life as a screenwriter; it was his dream,” said Chicago resident Arden Small, a close family friend. “It is totally devastating.”

Taft earned an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Missouri, and had recently completed his master’s degree at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

He was a finalist for a writing award from the Emmy Foundation, and had landed a prestigious internship in Los Angeles, where he planned to live with friends from graduate school.

“He had gathered all of his belongings in his car and he was on the road to start his career,” Small said.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday in Taft’s hometown of Winnetka, Ill.

“He was very active in high school and a huge Cubs fan,” said another family friend, Sandy Smith of Chicago, adding that Taft wrote a blog about the team.

Taft was wearing his seat belt and was likely looking for a place to stay at the time of the accident, Smith said.

Smith believes Taft’s parents were the last to talk with him.

The Taft family is collecting memorial contributions on behalf of Taft through Cubs Care, the charitable arm of the Chicago team.