Grieving mother aims to bring hit-and-run alert system to Oregon

Kristi Finney-Dunn, who lost her son three years ago in a hit-and-run accident, is trying to bring an alert system for hit-and-runs to Oregon, March 26, 2014. (KOIN)
Kristi Finney-Dunn, who lost her son three years ago in a hit-and-run accident, is trying to bring an alert system for hit-and-runs to Oregon, March 26, 2014. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Oreg. (KOIN) — A grieving mother turned advocate is looking to get a statewide alert system for hit-and-run drivers that operates similar to the Amber Alert.

Kristi Finney-Dunn lost her son, Dustin Finney, three years ago after a hit-and-run driver killed him.

“Our biggest fear is our child will be forgotten and I just won’t have it,” said Finney-Dunn.

Finney-Dunn’s proposed alert system is modeled after the Medina Alert that was passed in Colorado and has been active in Denver for two years. Colorado’s alert was named after Jose Medina, another victim of a hit-and-run.

Officers alert the media and issues bulletins on electronic highway signs that describe fleeing vehicles, according to Larry Stevenson, the Medina Alert’s creator and a former Denver police officer.

In order for a Medina Alert to be issued, a good description of the vehicle and driver must be available, making most hit-and-runs fall outside those guidelines.

Since the Medina Alert was activated in Denver two years ago, there have been more than 12,000 hit-and-runs. However, a Medina Alert was only issued for 17 of them because those were the only ones with vehicle and driver descriptions. Of the 17 alerts, 13 of those hit-and-run incidents were solved.

“I’m here because I want to do something, and I’m doing it in the name of my son, but I’m also doing it because I don’t like hearing about other people suffering and other people dying,” said Finney-Dunn.

Stevenson has been in touch with Finney-Dunn and together they are trying to bring the system to Oregon.

Stevenson said he is meeting with local authorities on Thursday to discuss the potential alert system.

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