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Highway Cross Memorials Really a Problem?



  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "The kicker is this guy was so obsessed that he stalked the local district attorney for not pressing charges against the teenager driving the Cherokee"

    Sounds like a lot of dumb and dumber actions that led to this tragedy - starting with the victim not having herself or kids properly buckled in...

    ..but, the teenager that caused the accident should absolutely have been charged. Period. I'm sure that the judge/jury after hearing all of the facts, may have shown leniency. But whether she was 17, 47, or 87 it is a driver's responsibility to maintain control of a car and failure to do so is a chargeable offense. And yes, had the driver of the Monte carlo survived, she should have been charged as well for negligent homicide for the deaths of the kids.

    The idea that the prosecutor independently decided to let the 17 year old off scott free is unconscionable. So what now, every minor distraction is a legitimate excuse for causing a fatal accident? If something like a bee in a car is an excuse for losing control, I would have killed a few dozen people by now in my 30+ years of driving :confuse:
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,744
    I'm not sure when we have been in total agreement before but that post might just be one of them.

    I also feel pretty much like Wale in that I don't see a problem one way or another with the memorials. They may want to consider some guide lines or time limits but who knows? Even in a cemetery they only leave the excess displays, flowers and balloons, up for a week and then someone would have to replace them. I don't see any social pressure to put up a memorial. It seems more popular now but that may be a phase.

    All in all it seems as if some of us have been getting a bit thin skinned here. Who cares if there is a cross or a set of micky mouse ears on a stick on the side of the road? We should have some control of what we pay attention to and what we can ignore. It the city, state or county decides to remove the displays from public land they can do that. If they decide to leave it there they can do that as well. I don't see where it should take any action by those of us who are not part of the grieving party either way.

    There are plenty of things we could ban from public view that would top my list over memorials. Boys with pants handing below where their back pockets belong and heavy women in spandex would be more of a visual distraction and could be banned from public sidewalks. But that too should pass as a fad.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I'd rather focus on getting hi-lift 4X4s with huge Stars and Stripes and huge Stars and Bars stuck on broomsticks off the road. Permanently.

    Help clean up America; impound a redneck-mobile today...
  • spoomspoom Posts: 85
    it does seem fair to take down the memorials too. Even though the memorials are more accepted/acceptable to many folks, it's still an act of putting some type of private item on public land to express private thoughts. Eventually somebody crosses a line and then what? Then somebody has to make a decision on what is acceptable and you'll never please everyone. I understand the need to grieve, but that can be channeled elsewhere. Frankly, a lot of these memorials just deteriorate into litter, like concert bills taped to lightposts. I' like the way some signs in South Dakota are done. On the back of various regulation signs are red X's to signify a fatality. They are easily seen but not distracting and need no maint.$ later on, while still giving one pause to their mortality.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    In Virginia, it's technically illegal to put up such memorials on publicly owned land on the roadside. But they keep popping up anyway.

    The state has a program somewhat like South Dakota's in that family or friends of the deceased can request that a standardized sign be placed at the crash site. This is a blue sign stating, "In memory of [name]. Please drive safely." The sign stays up for one year only.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    but, the teenager that caused the accident should absolutely have been charged. Period. I'm sure that the judge/jury after hearing all of the facts, may have shown leniency.

    The case never went to trial, because the district attorney decided against charging the teenage driver. I don't know the details, such as how far she swerved to the left. Maybe the Monte Carlo driver overreacted.

    The state IMO bears some responsibility in that if you start across the grassy median at the location of the crash, it slopes sharply downward to the opposing lanes. Any vehicle will roll in that situation, so I think a guard rail should be installed. Nine years later, none exists. (There are lots of places like this in VA, where the "old" side of a divided highway follows the lay of the land, while the "new" side has been graded -- this results in differing heights between the opposing roadways.)

    I was involved in a similar incident in 1983 (thankfully where no one was injured). I had just entered a short entrance ramp on the PA Turnpike, and a Nissan Z car in the right through lane overreacted to my "surprise" appearance and swung left. Unfortunately, the left lane was occupied by a Chevy Malibu, whose driver in turn swung left into the center guard rail.

    I had no intention of merging when the Z made its move. There was no contact between the Z and the Malibu, and only the latter was damaged. We all stopped in a wide area off to the right to exchange information. A few weeks later I received a call from the insurance company of the Malibu driver asking me for an account of the crash.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    That's a really great program, IMO. It gets the message across that someone died here, and reminds you that it could happen to anyone anywhere.

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  • Might be off subject here but, anybody seen those signs actually giving the fatalities for a given stretch of highway? It usually said something like:


    I can't remember where I saw it and it also seems like they may not do it anymore (lawyers... sigh) because of new age liability issues.

    Dang I miss the sixties!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "The case never went to trial, because the district attorney decided against charging the teenage driver. I don't know the details, such as how far she swerved to the left. Maybe the Monte Carlo driver overreacted."

    Again, my point was that the DA should have charged her with reckless driving and let the judge/jury decide on the facts. Not charging someone that causes a fatal accident is NOT what I would want to see my tax dollars supporting in the form of a justice system.

    Reminds me of an incident about 35 years ago in front of our house at 9:00 p.m. on a summer night. A girl walking on the shoulder of the road was struck from behind by a car that was going in the other direction and had swung out to pass another car, well over the posted 35 mph speed limit. The driver was a prominant local businessman, heading home with his wife after having a few cocktails with dinner. My father was the first on the scene and couldn't do much other than attempt CPR as the girl died. It was clearly a case of DUI (at a time when that resulted in a slap on the wrist, at most), speeding and reckless driving. We were shocked when the DA, after reviewing the evidence, decided not to press charges. This was obviously a case of abuse of office to show favoritism - and ultimately resulted in the DA being fired, with the help of testimony from my father. But, still, the driver was never charged and, several years later, killed someone else in a DUI.

    At a minimum, if a driver can't keep a car under control when a bee flies in the window, they shouldn't have a license, period. A tree falling or even a deer running on the road is one thing. Insects another.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, our DA at the time was a pretty level-headed guy from the conservative side of the political spectrum. I'm not going to second-guess what he did (not pressing charges), because I don't know the detailed facts behind the start of the crash sequence. Certainly he and the investigating police officers would have had this information.

    Clearly, he wasn't corrupt as in the the case you described, and AFAIK, the teenager wasn't the daughter of any prominent local figure.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Drive around here in the Texas Panhandle and you will see some sort of a shrine where ever a car fatality took place. The Tx Panhandle folks do this very often. I have mixed emotions on this subject and can see why people do it and see why people oppose it. :(

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