AVON, Ind. (April 7, 2014)– The mother of a man killed in a hit-and-run accident is making a public plea for the return of the roadside memorial to her son.
“That’s really sad that you would take my cross like that, because this is where my son was killed,” said Virginia Coppage. “And that is really heart wrenching to know that you would deliberately come and take it.”
Coppage is the mother of Robert Blankenship, who was hit and killed on Feb. 5 while walking in the turn lane along U.S. 36 in Avon. Last week, Avon Police announed the arrest of 19-year-old Charles Parrett in connection with the crash. Police charged Parrett with leaving the scene of the fatal accident. They also filed a charge related to traces of marijuana in Parrett’s system. The charges came nearly eight weeks after the accident because Avon Police were waiting for results of Parrett’s blood test to come back from a state lab.
Less than a week after the arrest was announced, Coppage says the white cross memorial along the highway was gone. She noticed it was missing while driving along U.S. 36 Monday morning but says it was there when she drove by the previous Friday.
“It meant a lot to me,” Coppage said. “It meant a whole lot to me because this is where my son was killed.”
According to Coppage, Blankenship was walking along the highway because his own driver’s license had been suspended after a previous alcohol offense. Police believe he was walking in the turn lane because of large snow mounds on the side of the highway at the time. They say Parrett left the scene after hitting Blankenship, went to a restaurant in Plainfield, then returned to the scene before leaving again. Parrett’s mother eventually
brought him back to the scene to talk to police.
A couple weeks after the accident, Coppage and other family members stuck the white cross in the ground on the spot where Blankenship died. Painted on the cross were Robert Blankenship’s name, the words “In God’s Hands,” and the names of Blankenship’s three children, who are ages 11, 9 and 2.
“The 11 year old and the 9 year old was out here with us when we put the cross in,” Coppage said. “And they just cried, you know? Their hearts are broke. It’s their daddy.”
Officials with the Town of Avon and Indiana Department of Transportation tell Fox59 they did not take the cross down. Gables of Avon, LLC, who owns the land by the highway also said they did not remove the cross.
Virgina Coppage says she doesn’t really care who took it. She just wants it returned to the side of the highway.
“Every time I drive by here I think about what happened,” she said. “And for you to take my cross, that was really heart wrenching. Please bring it back.”