Six years after his son, Thomas C. Turner, died at 17 in a crash on U.S. 2, Tom Cock was finally able to see a memorial sign bearing his son’s name, urging drivers to drive safely, posted on U.S. 2.
Wednesday, July 10, he and other supporters gathered east of Gold Bar at Zeke’s Drive In to see the sign unveiled and installed.
Getting the sign made required some doing.
The state of Washington allows people to order memorial signs for highways for $750. But they typically only make signs warning people not to drink and drive.
Turner hadn’t died in an alcohol-involved accident. He was returning from Stevens Pass ski resort Dec. 28, 2007 when he was involved in a crossover head-on collision.
Tom’s stepmother Dawnnelle Dutchard took on the project of trying to get the state to make a memorial sign warning people to drive safely.
“She wrote letters and got some of my siblings to write letters,” said Cock.
Eventually it worked.
The new sign was posted at mile marker 31, near where Turner lost his life.
Since that day in 2007, 15 more people have been killed on U.S. 2 between Everett and the pass, and there have been 60 deaths there in the last decade.
Cock said he hopes legislators turn more attention to the aging road.
“Despite promises from politicians and state transportation officials, only marginal safety changes have made to the roadway, including new turn lanes and rumble strips,” he said.
He hopes to see a divided highway constructed someday.
“While state officials claim that funding needed for that project, about $1 billion, isn’t available, critics note that the state’s ‘nickel’ funding package has already supplied about $4 billion in road funding in less than a decade,” he noted.
“The loss of our son is a heartbreak, but the failure to fix the highway is a tragedy,” said Cock. “It’s time for politicians to fix this dangerous, congested highway, one that hasn’t had a serious makeover since John Kennedy was in the White House.”