ARVADA - The Colorado Department of Transportation is apologizing for the poorly-timed removal of memorial sign for three teenagers killed in a 2007 crash.
The sign went up six years ago as a way to honor the young people who died.
The sign came down on Christmas Eve, with the families getting just a few minutes' notice.
Russell and Melanie Sealy, the parents of one of the teens killed, sent 9NEWS a newstip saying the removal of the sign during the holidays caused unnecessary pain.
For six years, the sign stood as a reminder to drive safely and as a memorial for three young lives taken in September of 2007.
Seventeen-year-old high school students Kayla DeMars, Daniel Losasso, and Angelina Ford were killed while riding in a friend's car.
The teenage driver ran a stop sign and a refrigerated delivery truck hit his car.
The truck pushed the car through the intersection, causing it to strike a power pole and a bus stop shelter.
The memorial sign stood next to that bus stop as a tribute to the three young people who will never spend another Christmas with their families.
"The significance of this time of year is a reflection of a lot of the Christmas holidays that we had," Russell Sealy said.
The families always made sure the sign was well decorated as a way of honoring their children.
"It's not just a sign. It's a memorial of what happened. It's a reminder to others," Sealy said.
The Sealy's knew CDOT's policy that the sign would have to come down after 6 years.
They did not know it would happen the way it did.
The received a phone call on Christmas Eve that CDOT crews were already on site removing the sign.
"Out of all times to take this sign down, it's Christmas," Sealy said.
By the time Russell Sealy arrived at 62nd and Ward, the says the sign has already been taken down.
Sealy says the CDOT workers showed great compassion, but the emotional damage was already done.
CDOT spokesperson Amy Ford says the department tries work with families, tries to give them more notice of when memorial signs will come down.
"In this instance, it certainly did not work the way that we would have all hoped. And for that, we are certainly sorry," Ford said. "In this instance, we will go back and look and see if there is an opportunity for us to not have this happen again in the future."
Melanie Sealy believes CDOT should have a policy preventing this from ever happening again.
"Memorial signs should not come down on Christmas," she said. "The holidays are tough enough."
CDOT is promising a review of its policy on when memorial signs should come down.
Russell Sealy hopes this will never happen again over the holidays, so other families will be spared the kind of pain they are feeling.
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