Erecting Memorials to Crash Victims Is Part of Mourning
Keeshan, Charles, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Charles Keeshan Daily Herald Staff Writer
Roadside memorials keep vigil to help remember loved ones
A memory can take on a life of its own.
It can be a candle lighted in a church, a pile of flowers dropped at the scene of a fatal accident or a note telling a deceased loved one he is missed.
This week it took the form of flowers, a cross and a sign along Route 72 in rural Dundee Township where a Sleepy Hollow teen died and four people were hurt in a three-car accident
Next week, it may be words painted on a water tower.
When a memorial is made up of flowers along a busy road, far be it from the Illinois Department of Transportation to pick it up and take the memory away.
Its employees will let the flowers wilt and the cardboard signs melt into the earth.
Those roadside memorials may look a mess, but they are important to the people who put them there, experts say.
It helps them grieve, heal and let other motorists know that at this point in the world, they lost someone they love.
In the days following last week's car crash that took the life of Sleepy Hollow teen Jared Page, two impromptu memorials have gone up near the accident scene along Route 72 west of Sleepy Hollow Road.
One, a cross adorned with roses and religious icons, sits on the north side of the highway in tribute to the 17-year-old Dundee-Crown High School student. The other, a sign along the south side, calls on motorists to remember the others injured in the Feb. 25 accident.
It is a scene repeated throughout the state wherever a fatal accident occurs. Grieving families and friends put up homemade signs, install crosses, lay photographs and place flowers at roadsides in memory of crash victims.
It is also a scene the Illinois Department of Transportation would rather not see.
"From a practical standpoint, we don't want them out there," IDOT traffic manager Terry Rammacher said. …