Trib: Family questions removal of Indiana Township roadside memorial

This is a continuation of the story of Donald Parker, an Allison Park cyclist who was killed by a teenage driver who was distracted while untangling his flip flops on Harts Run Rd in Fox Chapel.  Charges have yet to be filed.

You can join a discussion about this tragedy on the BikePGH Messageboard.

By Ashley Gold
Sunday, July 25, 2010

When a teenage motorist struck and killed cyclist Donald Parker in May, people in Pittsburgh’s close-knit cycling community who knew the Hampton man wanted to make sure he was remembered.

Fellow cyclist Nick Drombosky, 23, of Oakland erected a “ghost bike” — a white memorial bicycle — on Harts Run Road in Indiana Township near where Parker, 52, was hit.

The memorial sat in front of a Citgo station at the intersection of Dorseyville and Harts Run roads until July 6, when it disappeared. Friends and family later discovered that PennDOT took it down.

Roadside memorials are illegal in Pennsylvania, said PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi. PennDOT officials know traffic fatalities are a sensitive issue, he said, and family and friends want to honor victims, but they should approach the agency before putting up memorials.

This memorial was placed against a road sign in the right-of-way the state owns, he said. It was too close to the side of the road, Struzzi said.

“We can’t allow that; it’s not safe,” he said.

Parker’s sister, Sue Macurak of Bethel Park, said her family didn’t know PennDOT removed the bike, “so it raised a lot of questions. Had we known who removed it, we could’ve had answers.”

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