Our mission is simple.
The primary mission of The Hit and Run Project is to support families and survivors of hit-and-run incidents while increasing community awareness.
We were founded after the tragic death of Matthew Stevens, who was the victim of a hit and run. Matthew was a 19-year-old man, who was killed as a pedestrian on September 12, 2015, in Neosho, Missouri. The individual who hit Matthew left the scene of the accident. Law enforcement and Matthew’s family began an extensive search for the person who committed this crime. Once the individual was found and apprehended, Matthew’s family was surprised to learn that the offender would only be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident because it could not be proven that another crime (such as DUI/DWI, reckless driving, etc.) was being committed at the time of the incident. In most states, Leaving the Scene of an Accident is only punishable by a few years or even months in prison and a small fine. Most states do not address vulnerable road users or what happens when a fatality occurs. Some states even equate human life to property damage. This is unacceptable for our loved ones and MUST be changed!
A MOTHER’S DETERMINATION:
After being contacted by people from all over the country, Matthew’s mother saw this as a social justice issue and created a petition on Change.org to advocate and educate others in the hopes of strengthening Missouri state laws regarding Leaving the Scene. She contacted state representatives and even spoke in front of a Missouri Congressional Committee on the impact of these incidents on families in hopes of closing the loophole of the law. On August 28, 2017, the Leaving the Scene of an Accident law was changed in the State of Missouri where Matthew died. Although this doesn’t affect what happened to Matthew, his mother Stacey Stevens Bankston, LCSW hopes that it will make a positive impact in the lives of others who have also been seriously impacted by hit-and-run incidents. Our mission continues as we look to other states all over the country to educate others about the tragedy of hit-and-run incidents.
This tragedy brought to light the magnitude of this social injustice, and together, we created The Hit and Run Project.