Above: One of Austin Tautkus’ finest football moments for Ellington/Somers. A 4th-and-17 catch from Brian Ryder that led to field goal and a 10-8 win over Suffield/East Windsor that kept the Knights’ unbeaten season alive in 2011. (Credit: Ellington/Somers football via Hudl)
Austin Tautkus, the son of former Ellington/Somers football coach Keith Tautkus and a wide receiver at WestConn, died Wednesday following an ATV accident in Suffield. He was 19.
Tautkus was three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. He was a member of two Ellington/Somers football teams that reached the state playoffs in 2011 and 2012.
His father, Keith, started the Ellington/Somers co-op football program and coached the team for 13 seasons. He’s also the school’s longtime baseball coach. Austin Tautkus’ mother, Beth, is an elementary school teacher in town. Austin Tautkus was the youngest of four children.
“The thing you have to understand about the Tautkuses is that they are Ellington,” said Ellington/Somers coach Sean Byrne, an Ansonia native who replaced Keith Tautkus as football coach last year. “They’re the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We’re all at a loss. They’re such good people. We’re trying to make sense of it, but it makes no sense.”
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Tautkus attended WestConn and played two games as a freshman. “He was moving up the depth chart,” Byrne said.
According to Byrne, Austin and a few friends were working on the family farm Tuesday morning. As they came in for lunch, Austin’s Ranger ATV flipped over and pinned him underneath. “Unfortunately, they couldn’t get enough people to it off him in time,” Byrne said.
When they finally did, Byrne said, Tautkus’ aunt attempted CPR and he was eventually transported to Hartford Hospital via LifeStar. He died at 5 p.m. the following day, Byrne said.
The Ellington/Somers patch confirmed the news with Suffield’s Police Department, which told the online news site it was investigating the accident.
WestConn’s coaching staff and players all came to Hartford Hospital in support, Byrne said. “Coach (Joe) Loth and all of his WestConn teammates, they’ve been amazing,” Byrne said.
The town held a candlelight vigil at Ellington Tuesday night while Tautkus was in a coma. It held another Thursday night, the day after his death.
— ilana gold (@ilanagoldNBC) June 20, 2014
Tautkus was eulogized by a community Ellington/Somers Knights Football blog on Patch.
“It’s been terrible,” Byrne said. “He was such a great kid. He has a ton of friends and it was great to see them gathering together the other night. It was terrible, but it was nice to see so many people who loved him.
“Keith and Austin really had a special relationship. They worked together, build trucks together. It was the ideal father-son relationship. Our hearts go out to the family.”
Calling hours will be held Saturday at Ellington High School at 37 Maple Street, Ellington from 4-8 p.m. The funeral will be held Sunday, 3 p.m. also at Ellington High School.
- OBITUARY (via Carmon Community Funeral Homes)
- Ellington Community Mourns Loss of Austin Tautkus (Ellington/Somers Patch)
- Knights Suffer Terrible Loss (Ellington/Somers Patch)
- the ellington basketball family, in loving memory of austin tautkus (Tim Larew)
- Austin Tautkus’ Ellington/Somers Senior/Junior year football highlights (Hudl)