Thursday, August 16, 2007

Caltrans Didn't Do It; So Who Did?


It's very strange, the way crosses and other roadside memorials to crash victims suddenly disappeared from Adobe and Stage Gulch roads in southern Sonoma County and elsewhere.

I spoke to Michelle Squyer of Caltrans, and she checked with the local highway maintenance office.

"Nobody there is touching anything," Michelle said. She said Caltrans doesn't encourage the placement of roadside memorials, "but we're very sympathetic" and wouldn't simply haul them off.

One removed memorial, featuring a mosaic and a "We Love You, Jaime" sign, had been across a fence from Stage Gulch/Highway 116 for a decade -- since a wrong-way driver killed Jaime Lunny, 20, of Sonoma in July 1997.

Her mother, Diane Lunny, can't understand why someone apparently carried off the simple memorial to Jaime and a number of others.

"It's baffling," Diane said. That memorial to her daughter, she said, "was just a little reminder that life is too short."

Also taken away were four crosses that went up on Adobe Road shortly after a crash killed 17-year-old Caj'o Phelan and three other teens in December 2005.

"We are at a loss," said Caj'o's stepmother, Michelle Phelan.

She vows that her family will place new crosses. Still, she'd like to know what happened to the old ones.