Cassidy man speaking up after roadside memorials removed

A Cassidy man who set up roadside memorials on the Island Highway is speaking out after noticing that someone removed them

Ken Dixon sits by a memorial cross for Crystal Ashworth and C.J. Somers near the intersection of the Island Highway and Beck Road where the women were killed when their car was hit by a pickup truck in 2005. Dixon says this cross and a nearby memorial for brothers Lukas and Cooper Bekkers

Ken Dixon sits by a memorial cross for Crystal Ashworth and C.J. Somers near the intersection of the Island Highway and Beck Road where the women were killed when their car was hit by a pickup truck in 2005. Dixon says this cross and a nearby memorial for brothers Lukas and Cooper Bekkers

A Cassidy man who set up roadside memorials for two boys killed in a car crash on the Island Highway is speaking out after noticing that someone removed them recently.

Cooper and Lukas Bekkers, aged two and nine, died in a car crash near the Cassidy Inn on Dec. 22, 2008.

Ken Dixon, who lobbied the province to make improvements to the stretch of highway where the boys died, said he noticed recently that crosses he put up for the boys near the Cassidy Inn were missing.

Later that day, Dixon stopped for a better look and discovered that crosses for two women killed in a car accident close to where the boys were killed were missing as well.

Crystal Ashworth, 42, and C.J. Somers, 22, died after a December 2005 accident at the intersection of Beck Road and the Island Highway.

In a search of the area, Dixon turned up one of two crosses from the women’s memorial, but the other crosses are gone “as if they were never there.”

“That has really upset me, that people are going in and destroying sites that I consider sacred,” he said. “To me, that’s a sacred area, like somebody’s tombstone. If we can get the word out that this is happening, hopefully someone won’t do it again.”

Dixon said this is the second time that the boys’ memorial has been vandalized — last November, the two crosses went missing and he replaced them — but the first time someone has taken the crosses set up for the two women.

He first put the boys’ crosses up in 2009 – on the same day he handed Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog a petition with more than 1,200 signatures on it that called for, among other things, a cement divider between the northbound and southbound lanes, which was later put in place.

Dixon, who doesn’t know the family personally, put the crosses up so that the boys wouldn’t be forgotten and to bring awareness to the dangers of that stretch of road – it was his hope that motorists would see the memorials and slow down.

There have been five fatalities in that area since 2005.

The fifth fatality was a teen who died in 2008 from injuries sustained in a car crash at the Spruston Road and Island Highway intersection.