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Families 'Devastated' After Crash Topples Headstones At Lawrence Cemetery

LAWRENCE (CBS) – Headstones at St. Mary's Cemetery in Lawrence were toppled after a car crash on Monday night. Word about the damage began to spread Wednesday on social media.

"Devastating. I just broke," said Cheryl Nolan. "I fell to my knees. I was bawling. I fell to my knees I was devastated."

Cheryl Nolan went to the cemetery on behalf of her friend Patricia who now lives in South Carolina. "I am upset," Patricia told WBZ. "I'm very upset."

St. Mary's Headstones
Headstone damaged at St. Mary's Cemetery in Lawrence (WBZ-TV)

Patricia's father and brothers, both veterans, and her mother are all buried there. Their headstones now spread dozens of feet apart and the grass around them torn up.

"Oh devastated. She just broke down and started bawling. And she's a dear friend of mine," Nolan said. "She's a little more emotional than I am. I didn't even want to show her the videos but I really had no choice."

According to a crash report, the driver told police she swerved to avoid a deer crossing Barker Street when she drove onto the cemetery and lost control, flipping the car and hitting nearly a dozen headstones in the crash.

Denise Beaurivage's late husband, also a veteran, is buried there. "It hurts. It's awful. I am very upset with this," she said. She says the image of the toppled stones and knowing they've been here for two days is tough to take.

"My daughter's angels are all shattered," Beaurivage said. "Everything is a mess."

A crew has been hired to clean up the property and assess the damage. That will start Thursday morning. They're also looking into the possibility of installing a guardrail along the busy street.

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