Washington officials are expecting an influx of sports cars, exotic super cars, motorcycles and other vehicles to help grant the final wish of a boy who bravely fought cancer.
The funeral for Alec Ingram, 14, of Washington, will take place this Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Alec passed away Thursday, Nov. 7, after a four-year battle with cancer — his final wish was to have sports cars lead the procession to his final resting place at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery on Highway A.
Ingram’s wish has spread through social media, creating a buzz that could attract more than 4,000 vehicles participating in the procession. There are reports that more than 3,000 vehicles already have been registered.
As the memorial began to grow, Washington police and the emergency management agency developed logistical plans for traffic management.
“We are planning for the eventuality that these numbers exist,” said Mark Skornia, Washington emergency management director. “We don’t anticipate a lot of issues, but we do anticipate a lot of congestion.
“Essentially, it will be a Saturday night at the Fair and everybody is leaving at the same time.”
Skornia added that the event is being planned for like a Downtown Washington Inc. event.
Washington Police Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes noted that motorists should respect private property and not block driveways nor park where they shouldn’t.
He added that west of Jefferson Street will be the area impacted the greatest.
“If you don’t have to be on the west side of Washington, then don’t,” Sitzes stated.
The planning team said the procession could be very lengthy, and could take 3 1/2 to four hours to navigate through town, with occasional breaks to allow for traffic to cross in areas such as Highway 100.
“It is important for people to understand this is what this young man wanted,” said Skornia. “It may be an inconvenience, but remember the reason.”
Fifth Street from Lafayette to Cedar streets and Sixth Street from Jefferson to Elm streets will be closed in the vicinity of Immanuel Lutheran Church from 11 a.m. until the procession clears.
During the procession, vehicles will not be permitted to go south on Jefferson Street past 14th Street.
The procession will follow the service at about 2 p.m. from the church. It will head west on Fifth Street to Clay Street, where cars staged at the fairgrounds and industrial park will join in.
It will then go south on Clay Street to Highway 100, where they will pass parked racing cars, then head east on Highway 100 to A.
The procession then will go south on Highway A to the church cemetery at 2226 Highway A, where the family will stop at the cemetery for a private burial.
The cars will continue south on Highway A to disperse among numerous county roads, including Clearview Road, Country Club Road or Highway YY, or continue south to Union to access other highways.
For more information about the procession, staging areas or traffic concerns, people may call Sitzes at 636-390-1050.
“We are doing our best to respect this young man’s wishes,” Sitzes said.
There will be multiple area where vehicles that are taking part in the procession will be staged.
Members of the media are asked to stage at the Elks Lodge.
Planners will direct participating vehicles to the staging areas, beginning at the paved areas of the fairgrounds, and then filter into other areas of the park system on the western side of Washington.
“The parks essentially are going to be closed,” added Skornia. “People will not be able to (move) through the parks.”
In addition, on Clay Street there will be about 200 “super cars” parked at an angle on both sides of the street south of Ninth Street.
“The idea is the procession will fill up the parks, and as it goes onto Clay (Street) they will follow them in.”
Drivers also are expected to show up at Six Flags St. Louis starting at 8:30 a.m. The cars will start to leave between 10:30-11 a.m.
Attendees are asked to drive single file to Washington. The cars will take Interstate 44 to Highway 100.
Guests are asked not to rev their engines or burnout.
For more information, visit the Facebook page Sports Cars for Alec. The Facebook page administrators have asked people to not contact the family.
The event schedule along with a video explaining the details for the day have been posted on the page.