Memorial of teen who changed AZ law vandalized - FOX Carolina 21


Memorial of teen who changed AZ law vandalized

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Joey's memorial Joey's memorial
Joey's memorial after the vandalism Joey's memorial after the vandalism
Joey Romero Joey Romero
Victim of 2010 hit and run Victim of 2010 hit and run

Joey Romero was 18 years old when a car drove onto the sidewalk on 83rd Avenue near Thunderbird, striking and killing him before driving off in October of 2010.

Joey Romero's death sparked changes to Arizona laws in the following months as legislators introduced Joey's Law, which would bring harsher penalties against hit-and-run offenders.

In Joey Romero's case, the woman behind the wheel was Laura Flanders. Flanders took a plea deal in 2012 and is currently serving a six-year sentence for her role in Joey's death.

Now, Joey Romero is remembered at a roadside memorial where he was killed. The memorial was decorated with pictures, flowers, a cross and words carved from wood reading, "Joey's Law" and "SB 1163," the bill that would become Joey's Law.

Joey Romero's father, Jesse, said there's not a day that goes by without thinking about his son and a visit to the memorial.

"This is an everyday thing for us," Jesse Romero said.

However, Jesse Romero said vandals also paid a visit to the memorial this week, leaving it in shambles.

"They took his pictures. They took his cross. They took everything," he said.

The only things that remained were a few Matchbox cars friends and family had placed there the week before.

"I'm going to rebuild," Jesse Romero said.

He rebuilt the memorial only to have the vandals come back a second time. Now Romero and his family don't know where to turn.

"Whoever this is, you're not going to stop me," Jesse Romero said. "I'm just going to keep rebuilding, but it's wrong for you to desecrate somebody's memorial site."

The memorial is on private property on 83rd Avenue in Peoria. The property belongs to an auto shop who has given Jesse Romero permission to keep the memorial. According to Jesse Romero, the auto shop has filed a vandalism report with Peoria police.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.

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