Jul 28, 2013 - MOM AND SISTER OF TEEN KILLED BY ALLEGED DRUNK DRIVER HEARTBROKEN AFTER MEMORIAL VANDALIZED [Brandon Thomas]

Devastated mom, Kim Thomas with a new roadside memorial for her son Brandon on Hwy. 22 just south of Cochrane after it was removed along with cherished belongings including numerous keepsakes. She is pleading to whoever took them to return them to the new roadside memorial.

 

She spends hours there every Thursday, thinking about her son and carefully trimming the grass around Brandon Thomas’s memorial with a pair of scissors.

 Kim Thomas was there again last week, holding her private vigil on the roadside where 17-year-old Brandon died on Dec. 6, the victim of an alleged drunk driver.

Just hours after the grieving mom finished tending the sacred spot just south of Cochrane, someone drove up and tore it all down — from the flower-festooned cross to the collection of mementoes and keepsakes left behind by friends.

“It’s heartbreaking for both of us — nothing about it makes sense,” said Kayla Thomas, Brandon’s sister.

The first assumption, that a road maintenance crew might have dismantled the memorial while tending the highway, proved wrong.

Kayla provides a long list of agencies she immediately contacted, including the Town of Cochrane, Alberta Transportation, the RCMP, Rocky View County and highway maintenance contractors Volker Stevin.

Not one had any knowledge of the desecration.

There’s been no sign of any grooming along the highway shoulder, and clearing the site required uprooting a metal pole anchored more than a metre deep in the soil, as well as untying various wreaths and tributes from the fence behind.

“We talked to everybody, and no authority had anything to do with this,” said Kayla.

“It’s starting to look like it was (malicious). Everything is gone — everything.”

That includes her brother’s wallet and his personal X-Box controller, as well as messages from friends, stuffed animals and a few automotive tools — the latter because Brandon loved fixing cars.

Kayla says the worst part is losing items people brought to the memorial out of love for her brother — each one having a shared personal meaning between the mourner and Brandon.

“We just want them all back, that’s the important thing,” said Kayla.

“They could just drop it all back at the memorial.”

The Grade 11 student at Cochrane high school had dreams of becoming an automotive mechanic when a suspected drunk driver ended his life. The teen was returning from an apprentice mechanic course in the city.

Calgarian Ryan Jordan Gibson was arrested after his truck crossed into the northbound lane of Hwy. 22, head on into Thomas’ Subaru.

Police say the suspect was two times the legal limit when the truck hit the car, shortly after sideswiping two other vehicles on the busy highway.

Gibson, 22, is in court next January to face a half-dozen charges, including driving over .08 causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Meanwhile, the victim’s mom and sister can only mourn and wait long months for that awful trial to finally start — which is why Brandon’s roadside memorial has been a source of focus and comfort ever since the crash.

Kim says it gives her a place to think.

“It’s Brandon’s stairway to heaven right here — this was the last place that he took a breath,” said Kim.

She spent the past weekend rebuilding the memorial, replacing the white cross featuring her son’s name and hanging new mementoes around the site.

But she can’t rest knowing someone out there drove a vehicle onto side of the road, and carefully removed all evidence of the first memorial.

“You can see the tire tracks going in and out of the ditch,” said Kim.

“They came right up to it and took everything away — it wasn’t just vandalized, it was completely removed.”

The question of who would do this obviously bothers the devastated mom, who says her family doesn’t have an enemy in the world, while Brandon was loved by so many.

“Who wouldn’t want to be reminded of what happened here?” said Kim.

Source: Calgary Sun


 

Last updated on: 2013-07-29 | Link to this post