City of Rome Removes Memorial of Late Teen Killed by Drunk Driver
Jasmine Finch was just 20 years old when she was a taken a victim of a drunk driving accident in Rome. It happened at the intersection of Black River Boulevard and East Dominick Street on May 21, 2020. Since the accident happened, family and friends have been actively maintaining a small memorial of pictures and keepsakes on the sidewalk at the intersection. That was, until it was unknowingly taken down by the City of Rome.
Family and friends of Finch gathered for a small protest outside of Fort Stanwix on Monday evening upset that they weren't even notified in advance that their memorial was a problem.
According to the Rome Sentinel, workers with the city Department of Public Works took down the memorial on Monday and boxed up the pieces. Finch’s friend, Emily Dole, said the family was not notified in advance that the memorial was going to be taken down.
“Without our knowledge, the City of Rome unjustly ripped down the memorial and destroyed some of our belongings. We would have just liked a phone call or even a warning,” said Doyle to the Rome Sentinel.
“If this had to be moved, we would have moved it ourselves rather than destroying our stuff and our memorial for our girl. We just didn’t think it was right.”
She said she received a call that the items were being held for pickup at the DPW garage for retrieval. But, no other prior notice was given.
She said that pieces of the memorial were moved by the state-owned sign in the area and that “that cannot happen.” So she said the decision was made to have DPW take down the memorial, since the sentencing occurred several weeks ago.
“We’re certainly not adverse to a memorial in a more permanent place,” Izzo explained. As for the makeshift memorial, the mayor said, “Everything has been boxed and preserved,” and the family is welcome to pick up the items at the DPW garage.
Allegedly, some of the items that were at the memorial were thrown away and destroyed.
"There was stuff that has not been preserved, like pictures, that we can never get back again. Signs with her pictures and stuff on them, they ripped them up and threw them away," said someone close to Finch.
Greish Ortega-Lebron, the driver, was sentenced on March 5 to four to 12 years in state prison for manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.
NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after