MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A sudden loss of a loved one to a car crash brings enormous shock and grief. So imagine the pain felt by the family of a 21-year-old Minneapolis woman who can’t afford to bury her.
With flowers and balloons it appears like many roadside memorials to a victim of a tragic loss. But this is a story that only gets sadder.
“It makes the loss even harder,” the victim’s aunt, Margaret Morgan, said.
Brandy Banks-Sutta was a rising young model who appeared in a number of photo shoots in the Twin Cities. But in the early hours of Nov. 3, she was killed along with her boyfriend, Melvin Jones, as the two were in their vehicle waiting for the stoplight to change to green.
Eleven days after she was killed by a driver police say was speeding along Olson Memorial Highway, the young woman’s body is still in the morgue. Her family is unable to pay the cost of a funeral, estimated at nearly $7,000.
“We don’t have the money, this is now the fourth day I’ve been out here asking for donations. Anything helps,” Morgan exclaims.
So, Morgan and Brandy’s older cousin Titi Brown is asking for help with hand-painted signs and a glass jar on the ground.
“I’m not a beggar, but I’m out here doing it for her.” Brown said.
Near the crash site at Olson Highway and Morgan Avenue North, they will get a little bit closer to the funeral cost.
“We do plan on having her cremated, which is a lesser expense compared to burial. But we’re going to have to do what we can to get the funds done so we can begin to heal,” Morgan said.
Until the formal police accident investigation is completed and toxicology tests performed, there is no insurance money to go after.
That’s why the two will remain out along the highway appealing for the generosity of strangers, getting a dollar here and a dollar there.
“Just know you are in my prayers,” one woman who stopped by to help said.
“God bless you too and I pray for you also,” Morgan said to her.
The family is hoping to get what will be needed to give their loved one the dignity of a proper burial.
The family has also applied to the Minnesota Crime Reparations Board for assistance with funeral expenses. Unfortunately, until an accident investigation is completed the board cannot release assistance funds. That could be weeks away.
If you would like to help, the family has set up a memorial fund. Donations can be made to the Brandy Ann Banks-Sutta fund at any TCF Bank.