Highway Cross Memorials Really a Problem?

kylerenfrewkylerenfrew Member Posts: 14
We had a recent case around here where one of those memorials with crosses (a makeshift memorial of a fatal auto accident) was removed, mysteriously, but then revealed it was pretty much DOT and the cops, saying it was a hazard because it was a distraction.

You can guess the outrage.

As for me, it makes me sit up at attention and drive right. My personal observation is that they're good. If somebody is starting to go "hothead" in traffic and then sees that, it might make them think and calm them down a bit.

What's your take on it?


  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,677
    take 'em down. To me they're annoying. I'll bet that family has already eulogized that person to the hilt already, too.

    "Let the dead bury their dead, but as for you..."

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  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    ...Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia has so many of those memorials it looks like a cemetary on the shoulder. The road is a horrible design that dates before the 1920s. The intersection at Grant and Roosevelt is perhaps the most dangerous in the country. Making a left turn anywhere in that intersection is pretty much a suicide mission.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,982
    as someone keeps the flowers fresh? Who cares?

    Bureaucratic removal? Who cares?

    "Suit yourself; I'm easy..."
    Igor - Young Frankenstein
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    This is public land where these memorials are being erected. There must be laws and guidelines that limit what private citizens can do with public land. The fact that we sympathize with the grieving families doesn't mean they can make up their own laws. To me the proliferation of these displays is getting annoying. And they are becoming more elaborate where I live. Its almost like a competition. I can't use this land to make a personal statement and unless there is a law that makes exceptions where fatal accidents are concerned then these displays all need to be taken down.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    I don't have a strong opinion either way.

    But it reminds me of a well publicized accident about 12 years ago when in the Washington DC area, a 17 year old girl who had received a BMW from her mother for her birthday, promptly wrapped it around a tree on River Road in Bethesda at 1:00 a.m. on a Friday night. Two girls were killed, one brain damaged.

    A "memorial" at the tree went up immediately and was maintained by her Potomac classmates for several months. At some point, someone else nailed a sign on the tree that read "Stupid Mother". It lasted about a day before being pulled down, but, harsh as it was, probably could have had at least as much of a positive impact in deterring future tragedies as the teddy bears and flowers.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    At some point, someone else nailed a sign on the tree that read "Stupid Mother". It lasted about a day before being pulled down

    Good point. Who gets to decide what is and isn't an acceptable message? As far as having a positive impact I'm not entirely sure that is the motivation behind these memorials. I think this is primarily a way that people are dealing with grief and it doesn't really make any sense it's just that they are imitating behaviour. Have you noticed how certain events trigger people to tie yellow ribbons around things? Again, it doesn't make sense but somehow people have been taught to think that it does. It turns out you can train people to behave in some pretty bizaare ways.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    One thing that becomes a problem is, how long should (if at all) the memorial be allowed to stay on the side of the road?

    There is a site I pass everyday where a couple on a motorcycle were killed in an accident, over a year ago. The memorial is still there, and does get "refreshed" from time to time. I often wonder just how long the family/friends plan on leaving this up. This particular one appears to be on private property, and I guess the owner is sympathetic enough to let it stay there.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    The only caveat I have about leaving the memorials is if they become a traffic hazard.

    In other words if they are located in such a way that people stopping to observe the memorial are putting themselves or other traffic in danger, then they should be removed.

    Other than that, those are a cathartic aid (and not in the laxative manner) for the survivors and should be left alone.
  • kylerenfrewkylerenfrew Member Posts: 14
    We kind of had the same deal here. Kids slammed into the broad side of stopped train. There was all this public outrage - Concerned parents wanted an investigation launched into the rail-crossing, other teenagers started to memorialize the spot, it was a horrible time - they were going to graduate (the kids killed).

    The one problem everybody seemed to gloss over was the kids were blind stumbling drunk doing speeds in the realm of sheer stupidity in the early morning hours....

    Sorry, a memorial at the spot would vicariously celebrate drunk driving. Teenagers and cars and alcohol - guar-un-teed death sentence!
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Other than that, those are a cathartic aid (and not in the laxative manner) for the survivors and should be left alone.

    I disagree. I'm not a psychologist but it seems to be that these are not memorials to the person but to their death. By erecting and maintaining these sites I believe you are adopting a pattern of behaviour that results in you dwelling on a tragedy longer than you otherwise would have. Life goes on.

    Where I live in So. Maryland many of these sites have been up for years and are getting more numerous. Is this perceived benefit the survivors are deriving more important than the real annoyance it is causing me. Why is it annoying? Because I view them as a form of litter. Not only that but most of these memorials have crosses. That is a religious symbol, which definitely does not belong on public land.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    tpe, "dwelling on the tragedy" is the emotional purging process. That's what the grief process is all about.

    Life does go on, but grief continues over time. Nothing can "hurry it along."
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    There's a small tree in the median of Interstate 64 which someone faithfully decorated for holidays... They'd put little American flags all over it for the 4th of July, and and little bunnies for Easter, etc.

    It was nice to see... however the DOT started taking them down based on the dubious logic that it was dangerous for whoever was doing it to cross the highway to get to the median....

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    Yes, but when did it become OK to put up personal monuments on what is often state- or federally-owned property? As someone else mentioned, who gets to decide what message is or is not acceptable?

    Before the cross-on-the-highway became en vogue, people seemed to manage their grief in other effective ways. How about putting the memorial in one's own front yard instead?


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  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    It became "OK" because it is commonly accepted. It's called giving the survivors a break.

    No one needs to decide "what message is acceptable." A memorial has basic ingredients and all of those are commonly accepted. The "Stupid Mother" sign broke the "commonly accepted" rules.

    Lots of things that are "technically not OK" become acceptable when we care about people's feelings.

    Most 9-11 memorials are on public land. There are still plenty of "Ten Commandment" monuments on public land around the USA. Why does it make a difference if it's the government who establishes the memorial or if it is an individual family?

    When did the cross-on-the-highway become "en vogue?" I'm 43 and I can remember seeing them as long as I have been on roads, even back in the 1970's.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Based on some of the feedback these memorials are not commonly accepted.

    Ten Commandment monuments are totally inapropriate on public land. I suspect that the only places you will see this is in states dominated by Conservative Christians. I wonder what would happen if someone erected a monument to Islam right next to one of these? Or better yet, a monument to Satanism. Afterall, who gets to decide what is and isn't an acceptable religion. Anyway, I doubt it would go over too well.

    9/11 memorials probably are on public land but had to go through some recognized approval process before being erected.

    As far as these memorials becoming en vogue I'd say it definitely happened in the last 15 years. I grew up and started driving in So. California and never saw one. I moved to So. Maryland 20 years ago and didn't see them back then. You can't drive 2 miles without seeing one now. I wonder what will happen when additional accidents occur at the same location. Maybe the survivors will work out some sort of time-sharing scheme.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    "Or better yet, a monument to Satanism."

    ...If it also bothers you that your US currency is emblazened with "In God We Trust", feel free to send it my way. ;)
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    The cross memorials are without a doubt commonly accepted - the instances of people objecting to them is the exception to the rule.

    I still hold that they are completely acceptable as long as they do not affect traffic flow and safety.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I knew that we'd wind up at separation of church and state, and that's not what this discussion is supposed to be about.

    If we're done talking about the distraction hazard that roadside memorials may or may not pose, then I guess this has run its course.

    But let's not open up a VERY volatile can of worms that has nothing to do with safety onthe roads please.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    ...If it also bothers you that your US currency is emblazened with "In God We Trust", feel free to send it my way

    I rarely use cash. Regardless, a satanist would have no problem with the phrase "In God We Trust" because his god would be satan. The only reason phrases like this have withstood challenges is because the term "God" is construed to be generic. You can insert your own personal meaning or non-meaning for that term.

    A cross is not only a religious symbol but a symbol of Christianity. It absolutely should be illegal for this to be erected on anything but private land. If I had the time, money, and inclination I could challenge these roadside shrines on this basis and probably win. It might not make me too popular with the religious zealots and one only needs to watch the news to see how dangerous they can be.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    The cross memorials are without a doubt commonly accepted

    Really? What are you basing this absolute certainty on? In the last 2 days I've asked a half dozen co-workers what they thought about these roadside memorials. Every one of them kind of shrugged their shoulders and said that they don't understand them. A couple people that have kids added the comment that if their child ever died in an auto-accident that would be the last place they would ever want to visit. Maybe they don't posess your level of expertise when it comes to grief management.

    I'm all for trying to establish whether or not these displays are commonly accepted. I'd obviously vote no but its a democracy, right. I'd go with the flow. However if this is what the majority wants then some guidelines should established. Similar to what exists for political campaigns. Where I live you can use public land for this purpose but all signs needs to be removed within 5 days of the election.
  • kylerenfrewkylerenfrew Member Posts: 14
    I remember that! I was down there around in the nineties.
    Use to be around Newport News/Hampton VA. on I-64.

    I liked it - got a kick out of it. Sorry to see it gone. So they said it was a safety problem, for crying out loud, life in general is a safety problem - you never get out alive.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Member Posts: 289
    I agree that they're acceptable, even though I truly don't understand the mentality behind it.

    Here's the thing, though -- nine times out of ten, isn't setting one of these up going to be a significant hazard in and of itself? One or more cars on the shoulder, someone hammering a stake into the ground, flowers, the photo, the whole nine yards? I mean, it's only a matter of time before we hear about an eighteen-wheeler drifting off the road and plowing into a group of people installing a roadside memorial (if it hasn't happened already).

    I'm amazed by A. the sheer number of these things and B. some of the weird places where I see them. One of the closest to my house is off an ON-ramp from a local street onto a no-commercial-vehicle parkway. I can't figure out how that must've happened. And then there are the scary stretches of I-80 in eastern PA, where you seem to see them every quarter of a mile.
  • 1racefan1racefan Member Posts: 932
    I kind of understand the whole roadside memorial deal. But, I would never put one up myself for a loved one, and I believe they should only be allowed to remain for 30 days, and should have to be taken down.

    However, one trend that I don't understand is where people are now having decals made, to go on the back of their vehicles that say, "In Loving Memory of 'insert name here', 19xx-20xx".

    I could understand a sticker like this being placed on a custom car, if a father and son were building it together, and one died before it was completed. However, I am seeing more and more of these stickers on normal everyday cars. When I die, I don't want to be remembered by a sticker on the back of a relative/friend's Hyundai.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I mean, that's hard to say having never had a loved one die in a traffic accident, but I tend to move on fairly rapidly and prefer to remember how people were, not how they died.

    We had afatal accident just a mile from my house a few years ago that I just missed having a chance to be involved in. The only reason that I wasn't the car going through the intersection at a high rate of speed was that the car that did was going sofast that they prevented me from pulling out of my street. I had to wait as they sped ahead and were hit by someone at a crossroads.I came upon the scene maybe 10 seconds after it happened.

    Long story short, the car withthe fatalitywas going 60 in a 30 zone, came to an intersection where someone unfamiliar with the area was trying to find their way and drove through a difficult to see stop sign and t-boned them.

    A roadside memorial was erected with fresh flowers, etc. The township had relocated the stop sign toa more prominent place afterwards, and made it the biggest stopsign I've ever seen, but approaching that stop sign your attention was definitely drawn to the floral display since it was this burst of color and "stuff" in fairly barren swampy ground.
    Quite a few people were concerened about it as a distraction and it eventually disappeared.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Well remember when the "Baby On Board" signs were popular? Thankfully it finally sunk in to most people how ridiculous the whole idea was. Were we supposed to read these signs and choose to have an accident with another vehicle? Who knows what motivates people to do some things but a good percentage definitely have the sheep mentality and enjoy being part of a trend. I've seen these "Loving Memory" decals and can't grasp the rational behind them. Is it that these people consider a decal on a vehicle to be the highest expression of love? At least it's their vehicle so it represents private property. As such they can use it to make whatever statement they want.

    There is one of these memorials a few blocks from where I work. A couple weeks ago it was decorated with a bunch of tacky inflatable foil balloons. It's all now deflated and tattered and looks like crap; not that it looked good to begin with. It's pure size makes it more of an eyesore than a paper cup that you'd get fined $1000 for throwing out your window. Maybe we need to have some style committee that reviews these sites.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Guy was riding a bicycle along a road and struck and killed by a guy who was legally blind yet still driving. Very tragic, and the victim was very well liked. But what purpose does it serve to have a bicycle that's entirely painted white chained to a guard rail at the spot more than a year later?

    It's not part of my makeup to dwell on that kind of thing forever.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    Don't know about other states but Ohio has gotten into the habit of naming freeways after state highway patrol officers killed in the line of duty on the road. They seems to erect the sign right where the officer died.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Alamogordo, NMMember Posts: 7,677
    why do we need to see these goofy memorials all over the roadsides and now as decals on cars?

    Looking at it another way...who says your loved one is worth more than my loved one after they die? A person is worth about the same amount as another person. Not one iota more. It's this "me" generation now and Donald Trump and Britney Sneers that actually think they are worth more than other people, when we all know(or should know)they're not.

    I agree..make these eyesores go away - now.

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    I've removed the off topic stuff that just cropped up. Let's try to avoid making these discussions personal please.

    Seems as though we maybe done with this subject.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Don't know about other states but Ohio has gotten into the habit of naming freeways after state highway patrol officers killed in the line of duty on the road.

    Well thankfully they don't do this in Maryland. I'm curious, how many freeways are there in Ohio? Seems like you'd eventually run out and only be able to name a lane after an officer or maybe an offramp. After that you'd probably have to get down to naming those little bumps that separate lanes but that's well in the future. Basically I don't understand this fascination with memorials. What does it accomplish?
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    I think there has been a national trend over the last couple of decades to SHARE our pain with the general public (I call it the "Oprah Syndrone"). For some strange reason, more and more folks simply CAN'T keep their grief private, and the need to express themselves publically takes many forms (from the roadside memorials to decals on cars).

    Look at the number of daytime shows which are essentially DEVOTED to broadcasting human trainwreck stories and the never ending supply of tragic figures EAGER to share their misfortune with millions of viewers. I remember clearly the story from just a month or so ago about the young boy who was a kidnapping victim who had been held for 4 years. Within 48 hours of his release from what ever sick experiences he'd endured, he was on Oprah. Is this healthy? Do we as the American public REALLY need to wallow in this?

    I can understand grief. I can understand the need to get support from family and close friends. I DON'T understand the 'need' some folks have to share their grief with total strangers.....is it really healthy or is it just a way for some folks to get their 15 minutes.....
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 207,739
    I just don't get why you erect a memorial at the place the person died.. It seems kind of morbid.

    If he fell off the roof, would you leave the ladder up with a bouquet on it?

    If he died on the toilet, would you drop a little plastic wreath in the bowl?

    How about if he slipped on a wet floor at Wal-Mart? A cross with flowers in Aisle 6?

    Plus, as mentioned above... many, many times.. it is a memorial to the poor deceased's own stupidity.

    I'm all for grieving, even publicly if it helps... but, roadside memorials seem over the top, especially the ones that are constantly maintained over time.


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  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    That's a good point, and it stimulated this thought:

    Most of these people are YOUNG people who have died, many of them under 25 and an usually high number of teens. Many or most of them (I would bet) were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident, due in part to the aura of invincibility that young people have.

    People first of all just DO NOT READILY ACCEPT the death of a young person. It goes against human nature. Parents are SUPPOSED to outlive their kids. When someone young dies senselessly (perhaps a drunk driver?) on the road, it somehow makes the death a little WORSE.

    Especially if it's a pedestrian death. I had one of those near a school near my last home - a 13 year old girl legally crossing in the crosswalk and just hit by an inattentive driver.

    That was a hard pill to swallow for the parents and the friends. Such a young life taken so soon, so unfairly. It generates a lot of unusually high grief levels, and ALL they can really do to help share in the grief is put up a memorial.

    It's just a part of the grieving process.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    "It's just a part of the grieving process."

    A memorial is part of the grieving process. Placing the memorial at the accident site is part of making the process PUBLIC.

    And it is this desire to make what should be a private issue a public issue is the part I don't understand. I mean, where does this trend stop? Are we far from the day when parents rent space on billboards to memorialize the loss of a child? Buying 30-sec TV spots? Yes, the loss of a child is devastating for precisely the reasons you indicate (parents aren't supposed to bury their children), but at what point do memorials cease being part of a healing process and enter the realm of bad taste?

    My answer to that is whenever the grieving party takes the memorial public when the public has no interest in the deceased.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Well, at least SOME of the public has interest, or nothing would appear at the memorial.

    I see the point though - vast majority of "drivers by" did not know the deceased or care about them.

    My original point stands though - as long as they are not a traffic hazard, what are they REALLY hurting?

    PS Something else I just thought about:

    Is it already so "trendy" that a parent who DOES NOT put up a memorial will be ridiculed behind their back for not putting one up? That would be a shame if we have reached that point.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    They aren't "hurting" anything in a real, defineable sense. But, at some point, one does cross the bounds between private grieving and attempting to wallow in the trough of public sympathy.

    "Is it already so "trendy" that a parent who DOES NOT put up a memorial will be ridiculed behind their back for not putting one up? That would be a shame if we have reached that point."

    I think 'ridicule' would be too strong. But I think that we HAVE reached the point that if a parent loses a child and they DON'T put up a little roadside memorial, some folks WILL wonder (out load) why they haven't done so. In a sense, I believe that it has become the 'expected' response.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Member Posts: 1,982

    Mark the calendar... :shades:

    Grief shared with loved ones and friends is cathartic; a way to give unreserved good will to each other to move forward. Little public shrines do zip, other than expose the public at large to something that ought to be personal.

    Still, don't really care if they're there (unless they're out of hand), don't care if they have to go.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    dammit wale - now I've got to go and recheck my premise.... ;)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    It's not a huge issue to me either, but I do think that at a point it becomes cluttery and tacky (for the record, I'm a neat freak and I also hate billboards). Plus, I've seen some that are falling to pieces because they're erected and then not maintained... that's the same as litter.

    And, they can become a distraction if there's a message, e.g., "Billy died here on xx date because he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Don't let the same happen to you - buckle up and stay alive." That's too much to read.


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  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I go by one of these memorials every day on my commute. It consists of 3 large white crosses, on the right side of the road. Originally, somewhat smaller crosses were in the median, but the state DOT (Virginia) deemed them a road hazard, so the replacements were put up on private land owned by a church.

    The annoying thing is that they've been up since 1998!

    I know the story behind the memorial. It seems one warm day nearly 9 years ago, a 17-year-old woman driving a Jeep Cherokee in the right lane of this 4-lane highway was distracted by a bee that flew inside her vehicle. She swerved to the left just as a Monte Carlo was starting to pass her in the left lane.

    So, the 49-year-old woman driving the Monte Carlo swerved to her left, lost control in the median, rolled over and tumbled upside down into the oncoming lanes, where her car was hit by a Nissan Altima. Unfortunately, the woman had her nieces (I think) in the car, ages 10 and 4, who were completely unrestrained, ejected, and killed. The woman also was unbelted and killed.

    IIRC, there were two women in the Altima who were not seriously injured.

    I saw photos of the Monte Carlo. The roof was crushed somewhat in the front, but the rear part of the roof was okay. There is no doubt in my mind that if the kids had been properly restrained in the back seat, they would have survived, probably without serious injuries. I can't say for sure about the driver.

    The husband of the fatally injured driver has maintained the crosses, which include the first names and ages of the deceased. He decorates them for every holiday, such as Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween(!), and Christmas. Mylar birthday balloons are tied to the appropriate cross when the time comes. Right now, Christmas wreaths are still on the crosses. He planted 3 trees in the median where the Monte crossed over, but only one still survives.

    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. He even received some kind of conviction (maybe a fine) for harassing said prosecutor.

    I have this fantasy of ripping up those crosses out of the ground in the dark of night, carrying them away in my pickup, and dumping them in the woods at my workplace. Don't worry, I'll never actually do it!

    There's another spot near Winchester, VA on US 522 where 5 similar crosses are erected in the median. The road is 4-lane, but rather curvy at that spot, and goes over a small creek. Must have been one heck of a crash.
  • habitat1habitat1 Member 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 Member Posts: 2,747
    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 Member Posts: 1,982
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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 EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    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.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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  • kylerenfrewkylerenfrew Member Posts: 14
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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.
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