A roadside memorial was removed. A father is upset. Here’s why officials say they do it.

A man is upset that the City of Hamilton took down a roadside memorial for his daughter, who was killed in a crash two years ago, an issue that brings up a longstanding rule about what is legal for roadside memorials and why they are often removed.

On Facebook, people shared their thoughts on the issue of roadside memorials. Here's what they had to say »

Richard Crawford lost his daughter, Angel Jane, in January of 2016, after she died in a car accident on Symmes Road close to the bypass.

“I started the roadside memorial the next day after my daughter Angel Jane Crawford passed away,” he said. “If you weren’t looking for it you’d never know where it was. It was on Symmes Road close to the bypass on the left-hand side. It was on a straightaway, not on a corner.”

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Multiple flowers decorated the spot, along with a specially made cross Crawford placed at the site. He used concrete to make sure it was steady.

To his surprise, the entire memorial was taken down recently, and he went looking for answers.

“They told me at the city garage that they had a complaint about the memorial,” he said. “I wanted my daughter’s cross back that we put up because we spent a lot of money on it, but they did give it back. The flowers were there too and they asked if we wanted them back and we said they could keep them.”

Crawford asked about other roadside memorials, especially one on Symmes and Gilmore and one on Route 129 that involved a fatality after a fiery crash.

Liz Lyons, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 8, which includes Butler County, said the roadside memorials like the one Crawford put up for his daughter are often removed.

“It certainly is a tragic thing, but we certainly don’t encourage them because they can cause an unsafe condition,” Lyons said. “And we also realize that a tragedy has happened and family and friends like to do that sort of thing. If we come across them then we remove them. If they are not in the way for mowing or something like that then we tend to leave them alone.”

Most motorists understand the idea behind the roadside memorials, but she said they are still hazardous and people are encouraged not to create them.

“We don’t typically get complaints about them. Being in the public information business I can’t recall in years getting a complaint about them,” Lyons said. We would just rather they don’t make them. People driving by are going to turn and look. Sometimes if a family gathers there on a certain day it is just unsafe to be on a highway with all that traffic going by.”

She added, “I hate the situation and understand that a lot of people do that but we just don’t encourage it.”

Crawford said he also understands but wants to have the roadside memorial to honor his daughter.

“They told me at the city that maybe I could put a plaque there on the guardrail,” he said. “My daughter had a lot of friends, and they put flowers out there. I’m sure they will put more out there.”

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