Family forced to move roadside memorial for teens killed in Blue Springs crash

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — It’s been six months since three teens died in a car wreck near Indian Hills Estates neighborhood. Now, the victims’ families have been asked to take their memorial to the victims down after the city received complaints.

“I just miss my son,” Sheila Handley said.

Its been months since Handley has been back to the scene of the crash where her son was killed last year, three days before Christmas.

“It’s hard. So, I don’t come very often,” Handley said, “But they do, they come all the time.”

Six months ago, friends put up a memorial to honor their loved ones. Three crosses for the three teenage boys who lost their lives in a two-vehicle wreck, near Duncan Road and Indian Hills Road.

“It is helpful like I just feel like can come around here and have something to look at like,” Tanner Rose said, “It just makes everyone happy,”
But the City Of Blue Springs says some disagree.

“There was complaint from the subdivision and so they were told to take down the memorial,” Handley said.

The city sent a statement to FOX4 saying, “We want to allow time for the loved ones to grieve, but we also have to take into the account the traumatic experiences these roadside memorials could cause for others and consider the safety of all of our residents,” going on to say, “there were safety concerns regarding the placement of this memorial.”

Handley said it’s upsetting to see her son’s friends grieving without a place they feel comfortable to go.

“They are upset they want to have this place here,” Handley said, “I’ve offered other places but this is where they really want it because this is where the accident was, that tree.”

Handley said the tree the young boys hit is a living reminder of losing her son. But the crosses signified something else. How loved they were by family and the community.

“He was the greatest,” Handley said, “He was the light of my life.”

Rose said they’ve built a memorial here three different times, all were taken down.

“Everyone else puts their crosses up whenever someone passes away on the road,” Rose said, “So why can’t we?”

A city spokesperson said the city is in the process of drafting an ordinance to address all roadside memorials in Blue Springs consistently, regardless of the time in which they have been active. “This is a difficult situation for everyone involved and we empathize with and understand the importance of family and friends of the victims to have an opportunity to honor and pay their respects.”

For a fourth time, friends and family pick up the wooden crosses they made, and find another place to help put the pieces back together.

In place of roadside memorials, the city offers a Memorial Tree Program to honor and memorialize loved ones.



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