Memorial for Lakewood Ranch teens killed in crash to me moved

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The tree stands as a reminder of the loss of two young lives, but the roadside memorial may pose a threat to those who visit and pay their respects. 

Almost everyone in Lakewood Ranch knows the story. Brendan Shreve and Jared Duran were killed in a early morning crash in October.

John Fain lives near the memorial. He said he's watched mourners cross a busy road to get to the memorial.

"I have children of my own and I understand the process they need to go through to grieve and support each other," Fain said. "I think it is wonderful that they are doing that, but at the same time I have seen them run across the road and people hit their breaks."

Troopers said the Lakewood Ranch high schoolers were speeding when they lost control of their car and slammed into the tree.

Now, it stands as a living memorial - surrounded by flowers, crosses and messages written on part of the tree exposed when the crash ripped away it's bark.

Lakewood Ranch Boulevard is a winding road. The speed limit is only 35 miles-per-hour, but some drivers go faster than the posted limit.

"They were well loved and you can tell that by the memorial and all the flowers being placed and the upkeep for it. It has been done very tastefully. We just want to make sure everyone is safe," said Executive Director of Lakewood Ranch Inner-District Authority's Anne Ross.

She said the authority hopes to prevent another tragedy.

A solution could be a new, dedicated memorial site near the location of the crash. Officials at Lakewood Ranch town hall want to put a bench and plaque along the sidewalk.

"The mourners can still sit and reflect and have their time of peace, but it will also be safer for both the pedestrians and the vehicles," Ross explained.

But the tree will remain. 

"I think it's a hopeful thing. I'm not sure if they'll use it or go to the tree still. I think it is important we make an effort to make sure we don't have any other children getting hurt," Fain added.

The Lakewood Ranch Inner-District authority said they will not make any changes until they speak Shreve and Duran's parents.