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Mother Organizing Non Profit for Hit and Run Victims - KOAM TV 7

Mother Organizing Non Profit for Hit and Run Victims

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Finding justice in a hit and run is difficult to come by. 

"Most of the time when you're looking into a hit and run, the driver does not turn themselves in. You have to find them or find evidence against them," Sgt. Jared Delzell of the Joplin Police Department said. Adding that only about 50 percent of hit and run incidents are solved. 

"I would say the majority of our hit and runs do not have a witness because they happen in parking lots, or they happen split second," Delzell said. 

It's also difficult for the impacted victims and family to find assistance outside of the law according to Stacey Stevens-Bankston, who's son, Matthew Stevens, died in a hit and run in Southwest Missouri. 

"There wasn't anything out there that I could find support at," Stevens-Bankston said over the phone. "I realized that there's a greater need there, with no resources."

So she's creating the resource for victims and survivors that she lacked; The Hit and Run Project.

"We also are looking to help others through advocacy, education, awareness and service," Stevens-Bankston said. 

That includes financial support, legal advice, and establishing support groups for victims. As well as lobbying for increased punishments for hit and run offenders. 

Chris Kuban is helping establish the group as a non profit. 

"Our goal has really been to focus on driving change in Missouri. And driving that education component and advocacy here in Missouri," Kuban said. "So it's gonna start in the heartland of the country, and we hope spread as more people hear about what we're trying to do and then get involved."

The group hopes for families that can't find justice, they can at least find help. 

"So we want to be there to support people who have been through this," Stevens-Bankston said. "And to let them know they're not alone."

Stevens-Bankston also worked with representative Bill Reiboldt to create HB 178, which would increase punishment for hit and run drivers. 

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