All along the highways and back-roads of every city, community, province and state are Roadside Memorials to honour and remember a loved one who passed in an accident at or near the location.
This project is meant to document as many of these roadside memorials as possible, where I can I will provide a back story however unfortunately many of these roadside memorials are anonymous and no longer have a name.
Below each image will be a comments section for anyone to add information they know of the roadside memorial that is posted above and of the person whom it is dedicated to.
Justin Morin, Dennis Falletta & Zoran Mraovic – Roadside Memorial in Pelham, Ontario
This roadside memorial took a great deal of research and with each name I read from the wooden cross I knew would bring another heartbreaking story. Three names are engraved into the wooden cross that sits off of Highway 20 in Pelham where three young men from Dunnville, Ontario died tragically in a fiery crash early in the morning of July 13th, 2012. An accident that not only took the lives of three, but it also injured and sent 5 others to local hospitals with serious injuries.
The accident occurred at about 1:15 am on July 13th, 2012 on a short stretch between Victoria Avenue and Brady Street where there is a slight curve in the road. Police reported that a car with four people was westbound on Highway 20 when it drifted into the eastbound lane, hitting an oncoming SUV with four people.
The car burst into flames, while the SUV ended up in a ditch, injuring all five people inside. On impact, one of the four individuals in the car was thrown from the vehicle, sparing his life while the other three perished in the car as it burst into flames on impact.
Dennis Falletta, 21 Years Old:
Dennis had just graduated from Dunnville Secondary School weeks before the accident and sadly, Falletta’s brother Aaron John Falletta, 19, died just a week before the accident happened. Dennis was remembered as a bright individual who worked hard at school. The Dunnville native had just graduated high school as part of the Turning Point program, which helps students ages 16 to 21 who have not graduated from high school earn a diploma. Falletta was a determined individual who wanted to make graduation a reality.
Justin Morin, 20 Years Old:
Morin, Falleta and Mraovic were known to be the greatest of friends, “He was just the nicest guy to everyone,” she said. “Zoran would give advice to his friends. He was the type of guy who you could always talk to.”
A friend of Justin said Morin was affectionally known to his friends as Bubba and when he was with Dennis they were always “a blast to be around”
“They always had a smile on their faces, always laughing and joking around,” she said. “It’s so sad that they are gone at such a young age.”
Zoran Mraovic, 20 Years Old
Looking at Zoran’s public Facebook profile, sadly the first post you see (from 2010) reads “We must be diligent today. To wait until tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it? “
Zoran was remembered by a former classmate, as the “sweetest guy in the world”. In an online tribute friends remembered Zoran as an easy person to talk to about anything and everything. Zoran left behind his two parents and a sister.
This accident brought an entire community together in support of the three families who had each lost a child, as well as for the Falletta family who had lost another son just 4 days before. Fundraisers were held for the families as well as public vigils to remember the victims. A Facebook group was created to memorialize and remember all three boys and messages are often left from friends and family members, keeping their memories and spirits alive. In addition, an annual BBQ is held for family and friends to come together and remember the boys.
Deon Smith – Roadside Memorial in Buffalo, New York
Deon’ Dra Smith was a 20 year old man from Warren, Ohio who was visiting family in Buffalo, New York on the weekend of June 5th, 2015. He had a daughter in Buffalo and another one who lived in Warren, Ohio and he left behind several brothers and sisters, along with his parents. There is very little information that I could find on this story, other than Deon was shot several times at around 4:30 pm on Saturday June 6th, 2015 by a 17 year old boy along this quiet Buffalo street, inside a park.
Floyd I. Johnson ,of Buffalo, was charged with second-degree murder in Deon’s shooting death.
A short obituary can be found here in the local Warren, Ohio newspaper
Tommy I. Coen Jr. – Roadside Memorial in Rushford, New York
Along Highway 243 in Rushford, New York stands a bright white cross covered in toys and surrounded by flowers. The name Tommy I. Coen Jr is written on the cross.
Tommy Coen Jr was a lifelong resident of Allegany County in New York State, he graduated from Cuba-Rushford School, Class of 1981. Following school Tommy served 3 years in the Air Force, after his service Tommy was employed as a truck driver for Brad Holland Trucking in Franklinville. He was also a member of the “Lost Souls” motorcycle group, and the Emerald Hook and Ladder Hose Company #3 in Wellsville, New York.
Tommy had a large family, leaving behind his wife Judy and his 4 daughters, 3 sons, 12 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
On September 7th, 2012 at approximately 5:50am Tommy was driving westbound on Highway 243 when a pick up truck towing a trailer with 10 pallets of watermelons lost control, the trailer began to sway causing the truck and trailer to swerve into oncoming traffic, crashing into Tommy’s Ford Escort.
Dale Boeru – Roadside Memorial in Kitchener, Ontario.
On Wednesday, December 11, 2013. Dale Boeru (51) lost his life when the tractor-trailer he was driving collided with another on Highway 401, just west of his hometown of Kitchener, Ontario.
Many of the roadside memorials I find have to remain anonymous because over time the names on the crosses have faded away. In the case of this tragic memorial I am able to provide some information found doing some research.
Dale Boeru, from what I have read was a very well known and highly respected member of the Canadian Drag Racing scene. The National Drag Racing Association has a great piece done on Dale, published after his death and his funeral. He was a true champion of the sport and worked hard to promote the sport, you can read the entire story done by the NDRA on Dale at this link below:
Unidentified Roadside Memorial in Rockwood, Ontario:
On August 28th, 2005 a passing biker made a stop to relieve himself in the woods at a rest stop along Highway 7 in Rockwood, Ontario. As he stepped into the woods he stumbled upon the body of a woman, she had been dragged 10 meters into the bush and covered with a sleeping bag and left there. She had been there 2-6 weeks before being found. Police have her DNA, they have her clothing, the make of the sleeping bag and they have a dental plate that covered two missing teeth – but with all this they still do not have an identity. Using her remains and what information police had at the time, the had a clay bust made up in hopes that it would help identify her.
A roadside memorial had been set up and paid for by the local Knights of Columbus, it was placed near the site of where she was found. Now, 10 years after the date that she was found, there is still no name for the woman whom this roadside memorial is dedicated to.
All of the information on this case can be found here, should anyone recognize her or have information that can help the Ontario Provincial Police with the case.