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Citrus Heights man remembered after fatal collision with suspected DUI driver

Andrey Tagintsev
Andrey Tagintsev, pictured here with his family, was killed in collision with a suspected DUI driver on Oct. 9, 2018, in Citrus Heights. // Image courtesy, Tagintsev family

Updated Oct. 19, 12:31 p.m.–
By Oleg Shishko–
Hundreds gathered to mourn and remember the legacy of 45-year-old Andrey Tagintsev on Sunday, after a fatal crash involving a suspected DUI driver tragically took his life in Citrus Heights last week. He is survived by his wife and their four children.

His memorial service was held at Grace Avenue Bible Church in Sacramento, a church that Tagintsev helped establish some 19 years ago. Several hundred visitors came to pay their respects and mourn with the family, leaving standing-room only and filling up overflow parking.

Related: Teen charged with DUI, multiple felonies in deadly Citrus Heights collision

Many recounted their favorite memories of Tagintsev’s kind, energetic, and encouraging spirit — with a love for playing music and singing about his faith in God. Sadly, however, he and his family had to recently undergo a tremendous trial during which he lost his ability to sing due to cancer causing his larynx to have to be removed in 2017, according to his obituary.

Just a year after the surgery, while on his way home from work last week, Tagintsev’s vehicle was hit by a vehicle travelling the opposite direction on Greenback Lane. According to Citrus Heights police, the driver of the other vehicle, 19-year-old Christina Diaz, intentionally collided with a van before losing control and crossing into the opposite lanes of traffic, striking Tagintsev’s vehicle. Diaz is suspected to have been driving under the influence of marijuana.

Tagintsev, 45, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The other driver, who police say attempted to flee the scene, was arrested and charged with four felonies, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run with death or injury, and DUI causing injury

Tagintsev had been a resident of Citrus Heights for the past 15 years. His body was laid to rest on Monday at Sylvan Cemetery.

As of publication, a GoFundMe campaign set up by a relative had collected nearly $20,000 to provide “financial support for the children’s education as they continue to study music and go on to academically achieve their goals in college.”

A recording of the memorial service can be viewed on Youtube. A copy of his obituary is included below, provided by the family:

Andrey Tagintsev was born on January 15, 1973, in a Christian family to Victor and Ludmila Tagintsev, in Pavlodar, Republic of Kazakhstan, back then still the Soviet Union.

Andrey was the fifth child in the Tagintsev family, being obedient and loving his parents, from his childhood. In 1982, he went to school and was a bright and curious student. He always went to church with his parents.

When Andrey was nine years old, the Lord knocked on the door of his heart and he dedicated his whole life to the Lord. This happened on April 19, 1982, on the second day of Easter. That same year, a teen music band, named “Time”, was organized. Andrey became the band’s active member. He played the bass guitar.

In 1988, after finishing the 8th grade, Andrey moved to his relatives in Labinsk of Krasnodar to continue his education.

Andrey was baptized in the summer of 1989. After two years, he was drafted into the army. He served in Smolensk and then in Krasnodar. During his service, he enrolled into a distance-training program from a Biblical College “Lampados”. After the army, he transferred to be a full time student and continued his studies until he successfully completed his Bachelor in Theology.

Andrey loved to sing and play the guitar and praised the Lord everywhere and all of the time. He became an active part of a Christian band in Krasnodar.

In November of 1998, Andrey moved to America. His relatives went to Second Slavic Baptist church. Andrey joined the ministry: he played the guitar, sang in a worship group, and sang in choir. After about half a year, Andrey actively participated in organizing Third Slavic Baptist Church (now known as Grace Avenue Bible Church). From its first day and 19 years thereafter, he invariably led the music ministry.

The congregation grew and developed. Andrey played the guitar and preached. God gifted him with many talents and a very good personality.

He met Tamara Bozhko, his future wife, at the church. Their wedding was in 2001, followed by the birth of their first daughter, Esther, in 2002. Their family continued to grow. Matthew was born in 2004 and Anna-Abigail was born in 2008.

Andrey continued his ministry. Tamara was helping him and supporting him in everything. In 2010, another boy, Ethan, was born into the Tagintsev family. All of the children are learning to play musical instruments and worship the Lord. God blessed Andrey with a good wife, children, and a church.

Nevertheless, his illness became a great trial. A constant cough bothered him; he lost his voice. On December 24, 2015, doctors diagnosed him with cancer of the vocal chords and offered a treatment.

On March 8, 2016, Andrey completed the radiation treatment. Everything seemed to have started to recover: his health improved, everyone cheered up – both his family and the church. Many prayers were raised to the Lord.

Unfortunately, in one year, the illness returned, and they had to agree to surgery. On September 26, 2017, the doctors could not completely remove the tumor. They offered Laryngectomy, a surgery to remove the Larynx (the voice box).

Andrey understood that he would no longer be able to speak and sing. After praying, putting everything into God’s hands, and consulting with his family, he agreed.

On October 16th, 2017, his tumor was removed. The recovery process was not an easy one, both mentally and physically, but Andrey relied on God and took everything from His hand. Tamara did not leave his side. He thanked God, his wife, and his family.

This summer, the Tagintsevs traveled alot throughout California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Mexico, and Canada, visiting friends and family. During the summer, tumors were found on the lymph nodes, and another surgery was completed. Andrey tried to be cheerful. Like before, he participated in the ministry, played the guitar, and returned to a part time job. Andrey and Tamara planned a trip to Israel.

On October 9, 2018, Andrey did not return home from work. When he was returning home, there was a car crash. The Lord called him to Himself, to the heavenly Jerusalem.

We believe that Andrey heard the words of Christ: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

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