Mementos rankle mom


POLAND – Jennifer Boutot understands a person’s need to grieve. She also understands that young people need to pay tribute to friends they have lost.

She just doesn’t like to see it in the form of alcohol bottles and marijuana cigarettes.

Since the Dec. 24 crash that claimed the lives of six people on Route 122 here, items have been appearing almost daily at a roadside memorial, police said.

Besides crosses, flowers and written messages, beer bottles, joints and paraphernalia have also been left.

“I feel bad for everyone involved in this whole thing. I feel bad for the mothers and fathers and all the other relatives,” said Boutot, a local resident and the mother of an 8-year-old girl. “But this really disturbs me.”

Police or town officials have routinely been called to remove items from the stretch of road where the crash killed four people in one car, two in another. But as fast as those items are removed, more are left by others who stop to pay their respects.

“I found a joint tacked to a cross. There were unopened bottles of beer neatly placed,” Boutot said. “Every time I go down there, I find alcohol and marijuana.”

Boutot said she also found a roach clip, an item commonly used to smoke marijuana, attached to the memorial.

The cause of the early morning crash remains under investigation.

Although it is believed four of the young people killed in the wreck had been returning from a party, police said they have not yet received results from toxicology tests on the drivers.

Even without that part of the investigation finalized, Boutot believes it’s crass for items that promote drinking and drug use to be left at a scene of grief and pain.

“There are mothers and fathers who, when they go down there, they’re not going to want to see that stuff,” Boutot said.

Killed in the crash were 20-year-old Michael Cournoyer and his passengers, Jacob Roy, 20; Robert Bruce, 19; and Matthew Manley, 18.

Police believe the car driven by Cournoyer slid into an oncoming car driven by Steven Walton, 27, who was killed along with his fiancee, 25-year-old Laura Caron.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the crosses, flowers and ribbons remained at the side of Route 122. A sports jersey and other items had been added to the array.

There was no sign of liquor bottles, joints or paraphernalia.