Memorial respected during Nine Canyon Road Project - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Memorial respected during Nine Canyon Road Project

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KENNEWICK, WA - When you're driving along the highway, it's pretty common to see a memorial on the side of the road. But what happened in Benton County doesn't happen everyday, thanks to the power of social media.

On Monday morning, Engineering Associate and Project Manager Jeff Liner got a call from an inspector out at the Nine Canyon Road construction sight. He said there was a roadside memorial placed there, and that it would be directly affected by the construction.

So Liner and the Public Works Department decided to respect the memorial and try to find the owner. They took to Facebook, and within two hours they were able to locate the family.

The memorial is there for Antonio Mendoza Coria of Pasco, who passed away in a car accident back in 2009. It was a single vehicle crash and the car rolled several times; the debris covered a quarter mile area.

"The car obviously lost control at some point, rolled several times and came to a rest on its top, and the victim was thrown from the vehicle and killed," said Deven Hellend of Benton County Fire District #1.

Mendoza Coria is originally from Mexico, but does have family in the area, including his uncle. His family tells us that's where he was headed that night before getting in the accident.

Mendoza Coria's cousin, Nicolas Ambriz, said he drives past the memorial often due to where he works. Ambriz said they went out on the anniversary to touch up the site and bring flowers.

He's happy that Benton County got in touch with them so he could go collect the memorial until roadwork has finished.

Liner said that after the Nine Canyon Road Project is finished in about three months, they hope to put a permanent sign out in Mendoza Coria's honor. 

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