JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A mother was upset when she discovered her son’s roadside memorial was removed.
The memorial for 29-year-old Bradley Kirk has since been put back up by his family. Sophia Kirk told News4Jax that the Florida Department of Transportation took down the flowers and decorations that marked the spot where her son was killed in a hit-and-run April 2017 while walking along West Beaver Street, near Whitehouse Baptist Church on Jacksonville's Westside.
Bradley Kirk, a father a three, was almost home when was struck just two driveways down from their home. His mother drives by that spot daily.
"I still hear his voice. I smell him. I drive down the road. And it’s like he’s at the store -- someone favors him and I'm going, 'Oh my gosh.' That's him telling me, 'Mom, I'm with you,'" Sophia Kirk said. "For them (FDOT) to do this, I think it's horrible."
For Sophia Kirk, the memorial is a way to heal and a place to honor her son, but she said FDOT workers removed the decorations and threw them over the fence.
"This is our loved one. What if it was yours? Seriously, what if it was yours? Would you want someone to do that? I think we have the right to do this. I really do. That’s our loved one. That's my son," Sophia Kirk said. "Something that we want to do for all of us is this -- remember him where he died and for them to just take it up without caring, it’s just unbelievable."
When News4Jax asked why a memorial would be removed, FDOT sent a video, explaining if a memorial is in the way of roadside workers, it will be removed, bagged and taken to FDOT.
Sophia Kirk said most of the decorations were placed up along the fence and not in anyone's way, which is why she doesn't understand why they can't be placed there.
"This is where my son died, so I feel like we should have that right to have things there to remember him where he passed," she said.
FDOT also sent News4Jax a statement saying, “Our hearts break for families who have lost loved ones and we understand the sensitive nature of this topic. We always do our best to treat these incidents with the utmost respect for the families and loved ones impacted by this issue."
An arrest was made in July in connection with Bradley Kirk's hit-and-run death. His mother said she goes to every hearing and will be back in court Feb. 27 for the next hearing.
She said she will never completely heal, but the memorial helps her find strength and honor her son.