The father of a 16-year-old killed in a car crash was arrested for taking the matter into his own hands and preventing future accidents from occurring at the same location where he lost his daughter.
Cecily died after the car she was in with her boyfriend drove over the edge of a bridge. Shannon, Cecily’s father, watched as police pulled the car out of the river below the bridge.
“I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. Hugged her freezing body and said goodbye,” he told news outlets. Shannon said the teens would not have died had there been a guardrail on the side of the bridge. Local officials agreed with the theory, but they said plans to build the guardrail were still waiting for approval.
Shannon felt progress was too slow, and he became worried that he’d have to witness another car being pulled from the river. “Every day that goes by is another day that we’re risking a life that goes into that creek,” he said. Shannon then took it upon himself to get something done — bringing his own excavator to the bridge to help build the guardrail. As per reports, Shannon was planning to build a berm — a temporary ledge that would help prevent cars from driving off of the bridge.
The berm was meant to provide a temporary solution while local officials figured out the permanent solution. White county deputies arrived before Shannon was able to finish his work, and tried to convince him to stop. The authorities notified him they would have to arrest him if he kept working on the berm. The grieving father went back to work and was arrested for interference with government property. His son watched the arrest being made. Shannon said he was thankful the officials understood the problem. “They had to do it,” he said. “They had no choice.”
After being released on bail, Shannon received support from the local community. He insisted he did not want to break the law but felt compelled to protect other families from experiencing what happened to him. He also began speaking at Cecily’s high school about safe driving as a way to cope with what he went through. “Tomorrow’s never promised,” he said. “It’s the way I’m grieving, and I’m staying positive to get through the days.”