Memorial tree near Westport Village to be removed

Memorial tree to be removed after fatal crash

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It was a celebration for two teens gone too soon and a giant tree where families come to remember them.

“It's still unbelievable. It still don't feel real,” a friend said.

At the center of the celebration was the tree covered with photos, stuffed animals, flowers and memories. But soon, that tree could also be lost.

“This is the only thing we can come to see, to even feel like we're about them or anything,” said Kelsey Tett, victims’ friend.

Police say Isaiah Basham,18, ran into the tree on Herr Lane near Westport Village.  His 15-year-old girlfriend was in the passenger seat. Both died at the scene.

“They meant a lot to a lot of people. I looked at them as a little brother and a little sister,” Tett said.

Since the accident, friends and family have turned the tree into a memorial.

“I find my peace here. This is where he last was,” said Amie Thompson, Basham’s mother.

Now, Westport Village says they plan to remove the tree.  In a statement, the shopping center says the “health and integrity of the tree has been compromised” due to the violent crash.  There's no timeline on when it will be removed.

“It means a lot to my mom. Just her coming here every day it's all she does is sit up here and that's the last place I seen my brother,” said Glennisha Swift, Basham’s sister.

The teen couple would've celebrated being together for two years. Instead friends and family gathered to remember around a tree, where they spent their last moments together.

“They would love that we do this for them,” Swift said.

 

The family has started a petition to save the tree.  It already has over 3,000 signatures.  If you would like to sign it as well, click here.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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