Richmond mother protests to erect son's memorial sign

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A mother in Richmond, whose son died in a car crash, is on a mission she won't give up. Tamera Forshaw aims to memorialize her son the way she sees befitting.

Forshaw and loved-ones stood by a "drive safely" memorial sign for more than seven hours Monday, off Cary Street Road. Forshaw's son, Joel, and his friend, Nathaniel Daigle, died at the spot more than nine months ago. Police say their car crashed into a tree- speed and alcohol being factors.

Tamera is protesting because the city's district councilman Jon Baliles won't approve the memorial sign. Some neighbors and Baliles say the sign is inappropriate for the area.

Tamera stood by a replica of the sign, determined to deliver her message, one of honoring her son and urging drivers to be careful.

"It means a lot. This is where they both took their last breath," said Tamera.

Tamera has collected signatures, gotten approval from nearby neighborhoods, and even spoken to the mayor and legislators. However, ultimately, city administrators say the district's councilman must approve the sign.

Councilman Baliles says both he and the location's Hillcrest Civic association, agree that the sign is just not appropriate.

"My responsibility as council person is to the residents of my district…If the people who live around where a sign would be located say, 'We don't think this is appropriate,' and I completely share that sentiment… It's just not really appropriate for that neighborhood," said Baliles.

"I've asked…what makes it not appropriate, but I haven't gotten an answer," continued Tamera.

"As far as I know, there are no signs like it in the city of Richmond. It's a VDOT program that's more geared towards VDOT roads," added Baliles.

"This is a way to honor them and continue to do good," said Tamera.

Tamera says any items she's placed at the site, small crosses or a small sign on the tree, have been removed within 24 hours. She pledges not to give up her effort on erecting a sign.

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