Roadside memorials are prohibited in Colorado — but they still mysteriously appear at the site of fatal accidents, as people remember their loved ones with tributes and trinkets. Some impromptu memorials last for decades, others disappear within days. The Colorado Department of Transportation generally ignores these shrines unless they interfere with snow removal and other highway operations.
Or, in the case of Colorado 2 in Commerce City, are in the way of a road-widening project between East 72nd Avenue and Interstate 76. CDOT found nine memorials along the highway right-of-way, and last month tagged the shrines with notices that the memorials would have to be removed; otherwise, the department would do the job and store the materials for three months.
Before that work started, we sent photographer Brandon Marshall to memorialize these memorials.
One of the shrines was dedicated to the McDonald family: Barry McDonald and his children, two-year-old Arion and eight-month-old Jason — both of whom were in car seats — were killed in a head-on crash on Colorado 2 on July 20, 2005.
There's less information available about other people memorialized along this strip. Alexis Garcia was remembered with an official sign placed by CDOT, as well as an unofficial shrine.
Mauricio Macias was memorialized here, as was Cody Harrison.
Other names were lost. But somewhere, the memories live on.
Families of the deceased commemorated by these memorials can contact CDOT at 303-239-6757 to arrange to pick up the materials by March 12. See more of Brandon Marshall's photos here.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.