Families Request Memorial Markers for Loved Ones

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WESLACO – Memorials placed at the sites of tragedies along streets are becoming a tradition in the Rio Grande Valley.

It’s a family’s last tribute to a loved one who died in a horrible accident.

The Texas Department of Transportation can authorize the memorials if a family member of the victim files a request.

“The Texas Department of Transportation will authorize memorial markers to be placed near the right of way,” TxDOT spokesperson Octavio Saenz said. “These markers do serve a great purpose, not only to memorialize the individual that was a victim of a crash, but also helps to remind people of the dangers of either distracted driving, drinking and driving or just simply not paying attention to the road.”

The memorials aren’t only reserved for highways, some of them can be found on city streets.

Saenz said the families that set them up are the ones responsible for keeping the memorials maintained.

The memorials serve as a statement of grief and love for the individual.

“One of the things that has to be followed is certain criteria. It has to have a certain height and certain width. Thirty inches and 16 inches wide,” Saenz said.

One memorial near Delmita in Starr County has solar panels so it can light up at night, the person’s favorite drinks and a special prayer. And on busy Expressway 281 north of Edinburg, at Red Gate, there is something called a ghost memorial.

It’s a bike painted white set on a tree. A plaque says they hope he will ride his bike for miles and miles. It’s called a ghost memorial if the victim is killed riding a bike or motorcycle.

The memorials tell people someone died in the area, like the memorial honoring David Rucker, a Texas Highway Patrol officer killed on Highway 100 in Cameron County while making a traffic stop.

“I think it’s important to remember them. To remember that we are in control of our vehicles and we in control of what happens on the road,” Saenz said.

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