Memorial sign taken down

Posted at: 06/30/2013 9:27 PM
By: Mike Anderson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

There’s a noticeable change at the memorial site of a young woman killed in a crash with an Albuquerque police officer.

Ashley Browder’s mother says the state asked her to move the memorial because it is a “hazard to the public.”

The banner at the intersection of Paseo Del Norte and Eagle Ranch Road honored the 21-year-old.

But if you drive by the intersection now, you’ll notice Browder’s banner is gone.

“There's nothing you can do to take their loss away but I'm sure that makes them feel better,” said passerby Kim Neff.

Browder was killed in a crash with an APD officer.

Sergeant Adam Casaus was off-duty and was driving his APD vehicle in February.

He’s accused of speeding through a red light at the intersection and slamming into the vehicle Browder was in.

She died at the scene. Her sister was badly injured.

It’s not known who took the banner down.

The city of Albuquerque says the intersection belongs to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

The land behind the memorial is private.

The DOT recently contacted KOB-TV wanting to get in touch with Browder’s mother, Donna, who lives in Nevada.

Donna says the DOT first asked her to move the memorial off of city property.

Then she says the department asked them to take the wooden sign and banner down altogether.

The state’s reason, according to Donna: “If someone were to hit the sign, the wood could splinter and hurt someone.”

“It seems a little ridiculous and um, rude toward the family and victims," said passerby Thane House.

The case surrounding the crash is also in court and could head to trial.

Casaus is charged with vehicular homicide and great bodily injury by vehicle.

Browder’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, APD and Casaus.

“It sounds a little more politically motivated than anything else," said passerby Charles Williams.

Donna Browder also says the state told her they’d compromise allowing a metal cross at the memorial.

KOB-TV tried repeatedly to get in touch with the NM-DOT on Sunday, but did not get a response.