Tahlequah Daily Press

July 16, 2013

Memories aloft

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — In honor of two victims of a Cherokee County traffic accident last month, a pair of informal memorials were held concurrently half a continent apart.

Family and friends gathered Monday at the home of Darlene Blevins to remember her son, Paul Blevins Jr., who died in a pickup truck accident on June 15. Blue and white balloons were released from the front yard.

Simultaneously, Chinese lanterns were released in Chesterfield, Mich., in memory of Michael Rogers, also killed in the accident. Paul Blevins and Rogers were 19 and 14, respectively.

“I got in touch with [Michael’s mother] Cassandra through her son’s Facebook page,” Darlene Blevins said. “I sent her a message telling her who I was. She asked me to call her and we have been talking ever since. We have something in common now, unfortunately.”

Communication be -tween the mothers led to Monday’s remembrances, and Darlene Blevins has planted and tended three flower beds in her front yard since her son’s passing.

The circumstances of her son’s death has spurred Darlene Blevins to investigate the possibility of adjusting state law concerning passengers riding in a pickup bed.

“I want to get in touch with our representatives in Oklahoma City,” she said. “I think we need to try to get the law changed so that it is illegal for anyone to ride in the bed of a pickup truck.”

State law requires passengers in a vehicle to wear a seat belt, but also states one must be at least 13 years old to ride in the cargo area of a pickup.

Darlene Blevins said she hoped those who hear of her son’s Monday memorial will be mindful of the hazards of riding in a pickup bed.


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