Roadside memorials can be found on roads large and small, urban and rural, all over Canada. They mark the location of a tragic loss. How do you feel about these memorials in general? What feelings or thoughts come to you when you see them?
(Bonus optional question: You may know the circumstances of some of these memorial sites. Is there anything you’d like to say to the people involved in those events?)
Thoughts and memories of scenes like this come to mind when I see a roadside memorial. Some are placed by loved ones, some by the state department. After seeing wrecks, watching people drive and seeing the placement of some memorials its hard not to envision how it could have happened. Then I see the ones that are meticulously maintained. Some the grass mowed regularly, lights kept going, others even have chairs or a bench. When I see one like that I can’t help but wonder who the person was. A father? Mother? Someone’s little girl? Its an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss, even though I didn’t know them.
I think memorials or at least markers are a good thing. Montana places a white cross for every highway fatality within the state. Its a show of respect but also a reminder that driving is a serious matter and it is dangerous. There is a post in Montana with 7 crosses on it, signifying 7 fatalities in a single collision. There are several other crosses in that same curve. Sends a pretty clear message if a person cares to take it in.
The scene in these pictures is now the location of a small memorial. I was first on scene to this one. I was already on the phone with RCMP after the car passed me doing well over 200km/hr. The driver was impaired and slammed into the back of the red pickup, sending it up the bank and rolling it. A young man, after being ejected himself, had to watch his father pass away while a family friend, myself and another driver tried to free him from under the pickup. The family friend was driving the pickup and was the only one wearing a seat belt.
There are 3 things I would like to say about this incident:
1) Seat belts save lives!! Wear them.
2) I wish our justice system would get serious about punishing impaired drivers. A man was killed that night and the police told us on scene that even though it was pretty clear what happened and witnesses saw it he would most likely serve little to no time and would have his license back within a year… for killing someone!!!!
3) I wish that car had hit me instead. My trailer would have taken the hit and although there would have been considerable damage to it and likely my truck as well it would have been far preferable to watching a man pass away and knowing his wife and kids are now soldiering on without him.