The lead singer and guitarist in a Twin Cities rock ’n’ roll band died in a single-car crash in eastern South Dakota that also killed a passenger.
Taylor Tolle, 21, one of three members of the Carnegies, was identified Saturday as one of two people who died in the rollover on westbound Interstate 90, about 1 mile west of White Lake, according to the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
Also killed in the crash, which occurred about 3 p.m. Thursday, was passenger Anjuli Kerlin, 20, of Minneapolis. The patrol said she died at the scene, while Tolle died the next day at a Sioux Falls hospital.
Tolle and Kerlin, who were dating, left Thursday to visit Kerlin’s mother in South Dakota, according to Royce Mars, Tolle’s friend and bandmate.
Authorities have not explained what led to the crash. Both occupants were wearing seat belts.
The Carnegies have been a band since late 2011, playing both covers and originals in the bar scene in and around Minneapolis. The three count their influences as the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Beatles and other major acts of the 1960s and early ’70s.
“He was the greatest bandmate that anyone could ever ask for,” said Mars, 21, of Minneapolis.
Tolle was usually calm and collected, but could be funny, too, recalled Roman Mars, Royce’s twin and also a band member.
Royce and Roman Mars met Tolle when they were students at St. Anthony Village High School. The trio bonded over their matching long hair and love of ’60s mod and rock bands.
“We had the exact same music taste — it was shocking,” Royce Mars said.
Roman Mars said he and his twin, who often told people that Tolle was their big brother, are now considering renaming their band — something with Tolle’s name in it.
“It’s always going to be his band,” Roman Mars said. “He was our John Lennon.”
The Carnegies’ last show was at Memory Lanes in south Minneapolis on Aug. 1.
Tony Zaccardi, whose band Eleganza played a recent show with the Carnegies, said he was impressed with the enthusiasm and skill of the young rockers.
“I thought, ‘They’re young and they’re having a blast,’ ” said Zaccardi. “It was just refreshing.”
About 90 minutes before the rollover, Tolle posted on Facebook a photo of Kerlin during a stop along the route in Sioux Falls. It included a note from her saying she was on her way to Sturgis, in western South Dakota, and wanted “to make it there by sundown.”
Royce Mars said he had only met Kerlin once or twice, but that she was a “really sweet person” who helped move their band’s equipment, even though she was petite and the equipment was heavy.
Jessica Kerlin, Anjuli’s mother, expressed her grief by posting a comment on an old photo of the mother and daughter together.
“I don’t know what to say. She is my best friend and my little girl,” Jessica Kerlin wrote on the day of the crash. “You were my pride and kept me going through this messed up life.”
A jewelry studio and gallery owner in Rapid City wrote on Facebook that Kerlin, an artist, was going to help out at a store in Sturgis, where the famed motorcycle rally is being held.
Royce Mars said they are planning a concert to honor Tolle and raise money for his funeral. Details will be posted on the Carnegies’ Facebook page.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
Erin Adler • 612-673-1781