Roadside monument built in wake of tragedy |

Roadside monument built in wake of tragedy

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer
jason Crank, 13, stands across the street from a memorial that he and his friend, Ben Bumgarner, setup after Louis Norton was killed in an auto accident Wednesday. Norton used to hang out at the spot where the memorial was erected just a few houses down from where he lived. Photo by Brian Corley

An unobtrusive stone monument next to a dusty road in Dayton is a tribute to friendship, love, and learning to let go.

Jason Crank, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Dayton Middle School, spent two days building the stone marker after the death of his friend, Louis Norton, in a car accident Wednesday. Louis was 15.

“We felt he should at least have his name written somewhere,” Jason said. “Everyone around here liked him. He was good neighbor to everyone.”

Set to start school in Dayton as a 10th-grader, Louis moved here with his family four months ago from Oregon. Jason said he was like a big brother.

“We rode bikes and went hunting up behind the house,” he said. “And when I needed help, like doing the yard work, he’d be there for me.”

Jason said he worked with Louis’ cousin, Ben Bumgarner, on the project.

“We got rocks and made letters, then painted them. Then we got some gravel, filled the spaces and put some big rocks above it,” Jason said. “It helped, to get stuff off my mind.”

He said the work is far from finished.

“We’re going to keep it there,” he said. “We’re going to cement the rocks, then plant flowers or something — me and his cousin, Ben.”

Louis was killed, together with his grandfather, 60-year-old Harold Wright and a friend, 15-year-old Robert Marek when the Mazda Wright was driving pulled in front of a Ford on Highway 95A at about 8 p.m. Wednesday. They were returning from a fishing trip.

As their Mazda pulled into the intersection at Fir Avenue, 47-year-old Mark Fejervary applied the brakes and skidded in an attempt to avoid them. The Ford struck the Mazda broadside and both vehicles spun off the highway. All three occupants in the Mazda were ejected and killed.

Fejervary was taken to Washoe Medical Center, where he is listed in good condition in the neurological ward.

Alcohol was detected by Highway Patrol officers and may or may not have been a factor. An investigation into the accident continues.

A memorial fund has been established at Nevada State Bank for the Norton family.