The Lund family of Solvang is circulating a petition to restore the memorial site for Emma Bejstrup Lund, who passed away July 19, 2015 from an automobile accident when her vehicle struck a tree on Ballard Canyon Road near Buellton.
“We were just devastated when we went to visit Emma’s tree and there was a sign posted telling us to remove her memorial site within 15 days. Last Sunday we went as a family to remove everything and hopefully we can get it put back,” said her father Finn Lund.
The Lunds moved to the Santa Ynez Valley from Copenhagen, Denmark and she had a twin sister, Maggie, and an older sister, Stephanie.
The 19-year-old Lund died of her injuries that fateful night and her passenger, Jacob Edwards, 22, of Los Olivos, was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries.
According to Santa Barbara County Public Works the decoration on the tree became too much of a distraction and when they received a letter of complaint about the tree, it triggered the process to remove the memorial.
“We certainly empathize with the Lund family but it is an illegal encroachment and had to be removed,” said Chris Sneddon of public works.
He added the department is researching the possibility of having signs that could be dedicated to people after situations such as these, to remind people to use caution, but nothing has been defined as of yet.
“I miss my sister incredibly, and it just hurts that someone would think the memorial is a distraction instead of seeing all the love she had. If anything the memorial calls more attention to that curve which is quite sharp. There was even a sign telling people to slow down because of what happened to Emma,” Stephanie said.
Her father said the people that own the property across from that tree offered to put in a parking spot on the hill above it so they could come park anytime and look down at the memorial site.
“I even asked the county if we could move the memorial site behind the tree and I was still told no,” he added.
After Lund’s death friends and family would leave flowers and little tokens of remembrance, and it was also decorated with the Danish flag.
The memorial site has been moved to the Lund’s residence in Solvang where they say dozens of people come by regularly to pay respects.
“We have already compiled more than 700 signatures to restore the memorial site. It is just crazy to us that other sites along Highway 246 aren’t being told to take down their flowers and signs, but we are,” Finn Lund said.
Sneddon said the other memorials along Highway 246 are in Caltrans jurisdiction.
To see the petition log onto www.ipetitions.com/petition/emma-bejstrup-lund-memorial-site/?utm_medium=social.