While on the road, allow funeral processions to proceed
To the editor: It’s not just disrespectful. It’s illegal!
On April 29, after a beautiful service and having every courtesy extended to us by Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home, we began the slow funeral procession to Beaver Creek to say our final goodbyes to my mother. She was a 35-plus-year resident of Grayling, a staunch supporter of many charities, and an avid joiner in many local clubs and organizations. Most of all, she was loved. Family and friends grieved.
Grayling Police were called to monitor the left turn for the car procession we would be making at North Down River Road and Old 27. As happens with police and even the best of plans, something of a higher priority came up. So as we followed the hearse carrying my mother to her final resting place, each car with its orange flag whipping in the wind, headlights on, and being mindful to prevent “gaps” in between our cars, we navigated the left turn without police aid.
First, I would like to “thank” the young woman pulling the horse trailer for inserting her vehicle in the procession. The fact that as we turned, you refused to slow down or stop (as required by law), I’m imagining you missed the funeral but wanted to grieve with us graveside. You probably should have gotten a flag on your car, since you drove along with us for a good three miles. The law is, you should have stopped. Or once you found yourself in our funeral procession, you should have pulled over to let us proceed. We are grateful however, since you inserted yourself between cars three and four and were only 40 feet from the hearse itself, that even though you came extremely close, you didn’t total either of my brothers’ cars. As their brakes squealed, I was in car number five, watching.
I personally want to thank the older couple in the black SUV who, as I negotiated the left turn, nearly broadsided my car. Then the “gentleman” driver proceeded to “flip me off” with both hands while screaming obscenities. I wanted to scream that day, too, to God, for taking my mother.
Nearly everyone in our small (under 20 cars) procession had some kind of interaction, be it reckless or vulgar, while making that turn.
Did you not see the big black hearse? Did you not see the orange funeral flags on every slow-moving car? Is your day so rushed that you can’t pull over or stop for a couple of minutes to allow a devastated and grieving family to proceed to their sad, sad destination?
There will always be selfish people in the world – that is why it is the law. Pull over. Stop. Allow them to pass on their grim mission. This law forces people to stop and show respect.
To the many people who obeyed the law, our most humble thank you. To the people in the opposing lanes who also pulled over, God bless you.
To Ms. Horse Trailer and Mr. Black SUV, one day it will be your loved one, or even you.
It’s illegal. If you weren’t aware of the law, I suggest you review your old driver’s ed guide. It’s not a new law. It’s been in effect since the hearse was invented.
Editor’s note: According to http://www.legislature.mi.gov, Michigan Vehicle Code (Excerpt) Act 300 of 1949: “(1) A motor vehicle forming part of a funeral procession, when going to a place of burial, shall have the right of way over all other vehicles except fire apparatus, ambulances, and police patrol vehicles at a street or highway intersection within this state if the vehicle in the funeral procession displays a flag which shall be fluorescent orange in color, and upon which shall be printed, stamped, or stained a black cross, the star of David, or the crescent and star. The lead vehicle and the last vehicle in the funeral procession may carry an additional flag. (2) A person passing through a funeral procession of motor vehicles, designated pursuant to subsection (1), with a vehicle of any kind, is responsible for a civil infraction.”