Roadside Tombstone Raising Questions

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MOOSIC -- A roadside memorial is raising eyebrows and questions in Lackawanna County. It's not only flowers and a cross, it's an actual tombstone was placed at a crash site in Moosic. It has PennDOT questioning its policies.

It's not too uncommon to see pictures and flowers along the side of a major highway. But, a roadside memorial on Route 11 in Moosic is drawing alot of attention from drivers, who mostly ask, how did it get there?

"We kept going by, and the more we saw it the more we realized that it was a real tombstone! And I can't imagine what it's doing there, but it's there," said Pat Mozeleski of Old Forge.

Mozeleski and her husband first passed the marble tombstone about a month ago and wondered how several hundred pounds of stone got there, and if it's allowed.

The memorial is for 23-year-old Jarred Coleman. The man from Moosic was killed last summer when he walked out into traffic on Route 11 and was struck by a van.

The roadside memorial in his memory looks more like a gravesite. So, some people are wondering more than just how it got there. But, is it appropriate?

"I had mixed feelings on it because I can understand the family wanting to memorialize their loved one, but I was surprised PennDOT allowed it to be there," said Donna Jezorwski of Moosic.

Many of people Newswatch 16 talked to who have passed the tombstone all said the same thing, that it's startling to see at first. But, a sensitive subject.

PennDOT officials say they have a policy for roadside memorials.

"What we try to do from our end is try to be sensitive to the family, to the grieving process. If at all possible, if it's not a safety issue or if it's not hampering some of the work we need to do on the side of the road, we will leave them there," said PennDOT spokesperson James May.

May said they've never dealt with a stone monument weighing a few hundred pounds before. So, officials will have to use their discretion on whether or not it's safe to have the tombstone just off the shoulder of a highway.

But, PennDOT officials said, if it's moved family will contacted first.