Landscaping crews remove tree after deadly crash killed two

Westport Village Tree Brought Down

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It is the sound family and friends of Isaiah Basham and his girlfriend don't consider progress.

"This is the only place that we can come and feel close and grieve," said Imari Harris.

She spent much of the morning watching the landscaping crew remove a tree she says has become a second home.  Isaiah Basham and his girlfriend crashed into the tree near Westport Road and Herr Lane in mid-July.  Both died at the scene.  A spokesperson for the Westport Village shopping center said the tree was compromised after the crash and is a safety hazard.

"It's so easy for them to sit here and cut the tree down.  But, if it were their family I bet they still will be holding on, but they are not giving us the benefit of the doubt," Harris said.

Basham's mother also watched the crew dismantle the tree.  She didn't want to talk to us, but she had been fighting for it to stay and become a permanent memorial.   An online petition has nearly 3,500 signatures calling for the tree to stay.  Taylor Cannon is one of the supporters.

"I don't like the people who did this because his mom is out here every single night, every day and they just take this away from her," Cannon said.

Kelly Brown, General Manager of Westport Village, sent us a statement.  It reads, "This has been a heart-wrenching and emotionally difficult day for the families of the victims.  Our focus today has been honoring their feelings during this time of grief.  Each victims' mother was able to make very specific requests regarding the parts of the tree they wanted in memory of their children.  Our thoughts, prayers and support are with them."

There has not been a decision about what may be planned for the area where the tree was located, including whether another tree may be planted there.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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