Memorial to Winooski crash victim fuels melee - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Memorial to Winooski crash victim fuels melee

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WINOOSKI, Vt. -

"I didn't get to say goodbye to him. That's really hard," Desiree Mora said.

Mora brought a big teddy bear to the memorial that's growing on West Spring Street in Winooski.

"Tim was one of my good friends, one of my best friends," she said.

She wants the big bear to make a statement about how much she cares about her friend Tim Wellinger. He was riding his motorcycle up the street Sunday evening when he ran into a car making a turn. He did not survive.

But the roadside memorial led to what police are calling melee, when someone put up a cross in the greenbelt. The crash site is also right outside the home of the woman who was driving the car.

"Nothing bothers me personally, but the girl who lives here who was in the accident is religious and the cross just hits home," Joseph Louko said.

Police say when Louko took the cross down, Wellinger's brother punched him.

"The kid came up behind me, started punching in the back of the head and swinging like a lunatic," Louko said. "I yelled to my son to call the police. He didn't, he came outside."

Police say Louko's son then hit Wellinger's brother, who had to be hospitalized for his injuries. Right now no one is charged in the fight, and police say for now, the tribute to Wellinger in the greenbelt will stay.

"We understand that with the loss of a family member that everybody needs to grieve in their own way and it certainly doesn't obstruct traffic in any way and it doesn't obstruct the pedestrian traffic," Winooski Deputy Police Chief Rich Benoit said.

The city owns the greenbelt and can remove items placed there, even though Winooski has an ordinance requiring residents to maintain the sidewalk and greenbelts outside their homes. Joseph Louko says that's not fair.

"It's a two-way street; they want to say you're responsible for it, but you can't say what's on it? No, no, no, no, no," he said.

An accident reconstruction team is trying to figure out exactly what led to the fatal crash. And Tim Wellinger's friends hope the growing memorial stays put.

"At a time like this, there really shouldn't be any fighting," friend Kathryn Vitali said.

Winooski Police say they are sending the melee case to the state's attorney for possible charges.

Related Story:

Man dies in motorcycle crash in Winooski

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