DUI victim’s family creates first-of-its-kind highway memorial sign

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WELD COUNTY, Colo. -- After deadly crashes, many families choose to honor loved ones with memorial highway signs.

About a month after 27-year-old Brock Severson was hit and killed by a drunk driver on Highway 74 between Severance and Eaton in Weld County, his family began an application for one of the signs. However, they quickly realized that none of the options accurately fit what happened.

“Because a lot of them, when you read it, it looks like the person’s name on the sign may have actually been the [drunk] driver,” said Leonna Severson, Brock's mother.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation's application, the language for DUI-related memorial signs says, "DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE." The words appear above a portion of the sign that says “IN MEMORY OF,” followed by the person’s name.

“It made it look like Brock would have been the one that was drunk driving and it just didn’t seem right,” said Scott Severson, Brock's father.

Scott came up with a different idea instead. With help from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Weld County commissioners, the County Board approved the family’s request for a sign to say, “IN MEMORY OF BROCK SEVERSON -- KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER.”

“He was a man of few words but when he had advice, it would be to the point and make you think. And I feel like that’s kind of what [the sign] does,” said Brooke Alles, Brock's sister.

The family hopes Brock’s story and his sign will help save lives by keeping the next drunk driver off the road.

“I feel like it would make me proud and definitely Brock proud to know that part of him saved some other lives,” Brooke said.

Weld County commissioners would have to vote to approve the sign as an option for families in the future.

While Brock’s family says they hope no one ever needs to put another memorial sign up, they do hope to make the stronger language an option statewide too.

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