St. Francis man angry after memorial cross dedicated to late father removed by MnDOT

- He lost his father in a crash four years ago and set up a memorial in his honor, but now, that memorial is gone.

The cross was removed from the side of the highway by MnDOT.

Since his father was cremated, Nick Bourdon says the memorial is where he would go to remember his dad.

“The bricks were made by family members. Like, I made the son one and grandma and grandpa Kenny."

From the steel cross he welded out of his dad's old wrenches, to the toy filled with rocks from his niece, Bourdon built this memorial as a tribute to his father.

Now, instead of marking the spot where his father died four years ago, it now sits outside his garage.

“I was outraged,” he said. “I was crying to beat the band. I got probably 20 hours into making that thing."

Bourdan says he created the memorial just days after Ken Miller was killed in a motorcycle accident near Hwy. 47 and Ambassador Boulevard in St. Francis in July of 2014.

But when Bourdon drove by the intersection Tuesday night, as he does every day, the memorial was gone.

“That’s all I have. That's where he crashed. I don't have anywhere else. That's it. He was on his way to St. Francis to get ice cream and that's the last time I ever seen him,” Bourdon said.

Bourdon eventually learned the memorial had been removed by a highway maintenance crew and taken to a MnDOT truck station in Cambridge.

A MnDOT spokesperson says roadside memorials are usually allowed to stay up for about six months, but after that they are taken down because they can obstruct the right of way or become a distraction for drivers.

“We understand the need for people to want to put up a memorial but we also understand the roadside has important purposes and what we want to avoid more than anything is another memorial at that same location,” said MnDOT in a statement.

Bourdon says he rebuilt a 1953 Chevy pickup truck to honor his father who was a mechanic as well and has a small urn with some of his father's ashes.

But he won't rest until some sort of memorial is back where it belongs.

“I’m putting a cross there every single day,” Bourdon said. “Made out of a two by four and I’ll write right on the back karma will get you because it will."

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