Tahlequah Daily Press

July 14, 2013

Balloon launch to honor teen killed in crash


TAHLEQUAH — The mothers of two teenage boys killed in a crash June 15 in Keys are honoring their sons with simultaneous memorial events  in Tahlequah and Michigan.

Darlene Blevins, the mother of 19-year-old Paul Anthony Blevins Jr., has staged a balloon release at 7 p.m. Monday at her home in Tahlequah on Earl Street. At the same time, the mother of 14-year-old Michael Rogers will be sending up Chinese lanterns in Chesterfield, Mich.

Blue and white balloons will take to the skies, courtesy of friends and family

Blevins said she has planted three memorial flower beds in her yard in remembrance of Paul.

The two youngsters died when the pickup in which they were riding struck a tree at the intersection of Pettit Bay and Indian roads. Paul and three others were thrown from the pickup bed. Michael died, and three other passengers were also killed.

In the wake of the tragedy, Blevins and others have urged the state Legislature to push a measure making it illegal to ride in a truck bed in Oklahoma. State laws now are vague, and do not specifically preclude anyone older than 13 from riding in an open bed.