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City Says It Has No Control Over Vigil for Hit and Run Victim

Since Friday, friends have gathered at the crash site where Carlos Salas, 20, died after an alleged hit and run. Residents are concerned, but city says it's private property.

Three accidents in less than a week at the corner of Marina Hills and Golden Lantern

Since Friday, in an alleged hit and run, and t, residents are wondering when it will end.

They also want to know when the city will step in and ask Salas' friends, mourners and others, to clear the area where they have set up camp since the accident.

The city’s position on the vigil being held at Marina Hills and Golden Lantern is as follows: 

"From time to time, following a tragic accident, friends and relatives will hold gatherings near the location of the accident.  In this case, the vigil is being held on private property.  It is up to the property owner to determine what they will or will not allow on their property.  Our only concern is that everyone is safe.  The Sheriff’s Department will continue to monitor the situation to assure the public safety of our residents," said Pam Lawrence, deputy city manager.

The property owner did not return calls.

When Mara Steves was killed near her home at Nueva Vista and Moulton Parkway, However, after about a week, the items removed. The tree planted by firefighters is still there, growing tall, and covered with vibrant purple flowers.

At the time, City Manager Tim Casey said: "Although the city does not have any written policy about the length of time memorials can stay, they can only remain for a short period of time. If they are on private property, such as in front of a housing tract, they can remain for up to a week or perhaps a little longer.

“There really is no set policy that states when a memorial has to come down. If it is on private property, it’s usually up to the homeowners association to decide.”

If the memorial site is on public property, such as a sidewalk, items cannot be left for more than a week either.

“We will ask the family if they want to remove the items, or we will offer to do so for them,” Casey said. “Most come by and remove the items themselves and keep what they want to hold onto.”

due to the public outcry and love for Steves.

Casey said there are places in the city where stuffed animals, crosses and other markings still sit planted, marking where a loved one was killed.

“Typically, these memorials start to deteriorate after a while, and they can be a visual distraction to drivers, and that’s the last thing we want to see happen,” he said. "We don't want someone to get distracted while driving because they were looking off to the side of the road.”

He also added that the city is opposed to the tributes.

"We are not totally insensitive to these memorials, and we are tolerant for a time period,” he said. “We can appreciate that these are moving tributes of bereavement, but we do have to remove them at some point.”

BTD September 12, 2012 at 04:05 PM
This is very sad and my heart goes out to the family and friends. Having lost a young nephew almost six years to the day of this in a tragic accident, I found it even more piercing to learn of this so close to home. I believe the vigil is down now so this is all a moot point. I would be more likely to donate money if the friends and family opened an account in the family's name and contacted the press (like Debbie here) to provide that info to the public. I am not likely to throw money out my window as I drive by. I do believe this is a distraction when driving by and would hope that those involved would be concerned as much, given the dangers created and the loss of their own loved one. As a final note, the HOA responsible for the monument sign should be particularly concerned as their could be potential liability by allowing this to persist. They certainly have the power to stop the vigil and are certainly on notice that it is a traffic distraction that may lead to a partial cause of accidents.
james frank November 20, 2012 at 09:48 PM
if you really actually know what happened in the two other incidents then this article is completely off and invalid, just get rid of this one please debbie.

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