In Scripps Ranch, a memorial for a young mother who passed away in a car accident was removed this week. The incident has sparked a debate within the Scripps Ranch community on whether regulations that prohibit memorials along roads should be enforced or whether compassion should be shown towards grieving families.
An intimate video shared by the victim's father with NBC 7 shows Sara Haywood recording herself holding her daughter Olivia with her two sons during a flight. She had just moved to San Diego to start anew when her life was cut short in October of last year. While avoiding a merging car, she lost control of her car and crashed into a tree on Scripps Poway Parkway, instantly passing away. Her father, Orpheus Haywood, traveled from central California to build a memorial on the median where she lost her life.
"We wanted to do something to honor our daughter and the city she loved," Haywood said.
The memorial, a bright green cross, received complaints from local residents who cited it as a distraction and a danger to drivers. When Thomas Leeman, from the Miramar North Planning Committee, got involved, he felt conflicted. Hoping to enforce the rules, he hesitated.
"When it becomes personal, things happen and one feels a certain way," Leeman said. "The 28-year-old dying in a car crash with three little kids. I saw a picture of the family. The fact that she was a person of faith."
Leeman contacted Orpheus and the City of San Diego to try to help. City employees tried to find a way to keep the memorial standing, Leeman said. But it was also argued that something on the median is a responsibility for the city.
"My caustic response was, 'Hey, if it distracts drivers, they shouldn't be on the road', but I have to balance it," Leeman said, commenting on his representation of the community as a whole.
The correspondence between the city, Leeman, and the Haywood family, in the end, was not enough to keep the cross standing. It was removed sometime before Thursday.
"We regret that it had to be removed. But, you know, it's another little painful poke for our family. We don't make the rules but we want to follow them," Leeman said.
Orpheus told NBC 7 that he wishes those unhappy with his tribute to his daughter had called the number he had posted on the memorial.
"I was born and raised Catholic, and for us, where the soul goes, it means a lot. You know, we light candles, we pray there because we believe the energy is present or it is the last place where energy was," Leeman said.
Meanwhile, a few flowers near the tree stump will keep that sacred place for the Haywood family.
NBC 7 attempted to contact the Scripps Ranch residents who requested the removal of the memorial but did not receive an immediate response on Thursday.
It is unclear who removed the cross, but the city is keeping it in storage for Orpheus to pick up.
NBC 7 is awaiting a response from a city spokesperson on the specific situation and ordinances, rules, and general laws that apply in California.
In conclusion, the removal of the memorial for the young mother who passed away in a car accident in Scripps Ranch has sparked a debate about regulations and compassion towards grieving families in the community. While some residents consider memorials to be a distraction and a danger to drivers, others argue that honoring deceased individuals along roads should be allowed. Despite the efforts of the family and the city to find a solution, the bright green cross that marked the place where Sara Haywood passed away was removed. The family continues to seek justice and a way to honor their loved one.
Originally posted at Liga Legal®