Our View: Memorial needed communication

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 4:04 PM

Editorial Board

Better communication could have prevented hurt feelings after a family’s memorial to a 13-year-old boy who died in Uintah was removed by order of that town’s mayor.

Jayden Rathbone, 13, was hit by a car Oct. 31, 2011, while walking along 6600 South in Uintah.

The driver of the vehicle didn’t see the boy. Jayden died of his injuries nearly a month later.

In Jayden’s memory, family members constructed a memorial close to the site of the accident. It included a couple of crosses, a picture of the boy on a baseball, a plastic pumpkin and some glow sticks. On Nov. 1, the memorial was taken down by the orders of Uintah’s mayor, Sue Bybee.

The family was not initially notified that the memorial was to be removed. They also claim that Uintah’s mayor, Sue Bybee, had ordered the memorial to be disposed of. Bybee denies that charge, and says the city left the memorial up during Halloween despite complaints. She says the family could have found a more appropriate place to have a memorial for Jayden.

Uintah is small enough that everyone involved should have been informed of what was going to happen. Given the grief behind the memorial, it was insensitive of the city to take actions without notification. Jayden’s family should have been informed that the memorial was going to be removed. We understand their hurt.

However, the creators of the memorial also need to work with the city to find a place for the memorial. Rules for roadside memorials need to be reviewed.

And permission needs to be sought from city officials for memorials, particularly if they are planned for long-term use.

As mentioned, communication is the key. Uintah is a small town; both sides need to talk.

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