ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A roadside memorial dedicated to the two Belvidere North cheerleaders who died in a tragic accident last year has been removed.
A stretch of Route 76 in Boone County is almost unrecognizable. A grassy area once filled with pictures and memorabilia is now an empty shell of a crash site where two Belvidere North cheerleaders, Brenda Gutierrez and Thalia Arredondo, were killed on their way to a basketball game more than a year ago.
“We got used to the memorial being there and on Saturday we realized it’s not there. You’re so used to seeing it.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation took down the roadside memorial on Thursday after some drivers complained the site was not only illegal, but got so big it was actually becoming a distraction.
Tammy Rentschler was the 16-year-olds former cheerleading coach. She’s now packing her car with angels and crosses dedicated to her former teammates to give back to the victims’ families, parents who continue to struggle with the loss of their young girls known by the community as the “Perfect Two”.
The crosses may move to Belvidere North High School where a memorial garden has been set up for the girls. Organizers say they are still in need of more plants and are asking for donations to spruce up the area.