Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 11, 2014

Roadside memorials grow where tragedy took two young lives

BRUSHFORK — Family, friends and strangers united in grief have started roadside memorials for two little girls who were killed March 5 in a three-vehicle crash in front of the Deliverance Temple along U.S. Route 52.

A pink balloon, angel figurines and floral crosses have been placed across the highway from the church, and small boutiques of flowers and wooden crosses have been put on the church’s fence in memory of 4-year-old Madison and her sister, 19-month-old Daralynn.

The memorials started growing Sunday after a candlelight service at the church, said Joe and Mary Mitchelson, two members of Deliverance Temple.

“It gives them peace of mind, I believe,” Joe Mitchelson said at the church.

Mary noticed how the crosses had appeared on the fence Monday morning.

“I still have a heavy heart. How do you respond? I did notice there were fresh flowers,” she said.

The Mitchelsons were at Deliverance Temple the night of the crash. They did not see the tragedy take place, but they and other members of the congregation tried to provide comfort to each other, the family and the first responders dispatched to the scene.

“There were firefighters and EMS officers, and they were all sitting along the road with their heads down,” Joe Mitchelson recalled.

Pastor David Kirby said roadside memorials could help families deal with their grief and give people who did not know the families a way to express their sympathy.

“I think in a lot of ways, it comforts them,” he stated. “And in a lot of ways, it brings back memories, too. It does show that people care. It’s something they can do to show their appreciation and their concern, and show that they care.”

Near the new memorials is a cross that was put up after a man was killed near the same location more than two years ago. Kirby said both it and the new memorials for the children would be left in place.

“When we mow grass, we move (the cross) and put it back,” he said.

The congregation is coping with the tragedy, but the memories of the crash will remain with everyone for a long time.

“It’s one of the most tragic things I’ve seen, especially when it’s with two children. It makes you go home and love yours more,” Kirby said.

Funds have been set up to help the family pay funeral expenses.

“Nobody who has kids plans for this kind of outcome,” said Lt. J.E. “Joe” Parks of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department. “This was totally unexpected.”

Donations can be made at any First Community Bank location. Contributions can also be mailed to P.O. Box 3068, Bluefield, WV, 24701. Donations are also being accepted at any National Bank of Blacksburg Branch, or can mailed to P.O. Box 90002, Blacksburg, Va. 24062.

Text Only
Local News
National and World
Newspaper Deivery Routes Available
Sister Newspapers' News
Local News Videos