Memorial marker for victim in Brevard DUI crash removed more than 7 years later

Marker was removed off of State Road 407 following 2015 crash

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A memorial marker on State Road 407 for a DUI crash victim was suddenly removed two weeks ago, and family members said they were never notified.

“This is a DeMott thing,” said Bill DeMott, the victim’s father. “This isn’t a foundation thing — this is a DeMott thing.”

Bill DeMott’s daughter, Keri Anne, died in 2015 after a drunk driver hit her car head on. For the last seven years, DeMott and his family have visited her memorial marker site for birthdays, holidays and on days they just want to feel closer to Keri Anne.

But two weeks ago, DeMott said the marker was removed off of State Road 407 without notice from the Florida Turnpike or its contractor, Louis Berger Services.

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“It’s just taken away willy-nilly,” DeMott said. “For seven years, it’s been here, and it’s been the prettiest spot on the highway.”

DeMott said when he went to Louis Berger Services to claim the remnants of his daughter’s memorial, it was destroyed. However, DeMott said Louis Berger Services told him anyone could have done that to the site.

“There’s memories, there’s remnants of the fencing, the mulch, the broken pinwheels, the flowers,” DeMott said. “In that box are broken crosses. You might as well walk into a cemetery and kick over a gravestone as far as I’m concerned. This is the only place I have to come and see my daughter.”

After News 6 reached out to Louis Berger Services, Florida Turnpike and Florida Department of Transportation, within minutes of showing up to interview DeMott’s father, the sign was placed back in its spot where it had been for the last seven years before it was removed.

DeMott said he was aware of a policy that the family needed to apply for the memorials renewal annually, but he said for seven years the issue never came up. While he said he’s glad his daughter’s sign has been replaced, he’s still upset at how things were handled.

“Having someone pull up and go, ‘I’m here to put up a sign,’ the journey of the last couple of weeks as it pertains to this memorial sign for my daughter — we’ve been brushed off and pushed away,” DeMott said. “Now that people are speaking up, it’s amazing that a marker is going back up, but it doesn’t change how my daughter’s memory was treated.”

News 6 spoke to a representative from Louis Berger Services who was installing the sign, and they said to reach out to Florida Turnpike for comment. News 6 reached out to Florida Turnpike, which has yet to respond.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.