PORTLAND – Supporters of an alert system designed to spread the word about hit-and-run crashes hope to bring the system to Oregon.
The Medina Alert is named after Jose Medina, a 21-year-old man who was killed by a driver in Denver who drove away after the crash. The Medina alert is about 2 years old in the Denver area.
Police said it has generated tips and arrests. It works much like an Amber Alert. Vehicle information is sent to highway reader boards, but also to on-board computer screens in taxi cabs, delivery trucks and other vehicles.
Information also can be sent via text and put on appropriate websites.
“Hit-and-runs are one of the most unsolvable crimes in law enforcement and law enforcement needs our help. And if we are truly going to be out brothers’ keeper we are all have to do our part,” said Larry Stevenson, a retired Denver Police Officer who developed the Medina Alert.
Kristi Finney is pushing to get the Medina Alert to the Portland area, which would make it the second major metropolitan area to have it.
Her son Dustin was 28 years old when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in August of 2011. Dustin was riding his bike when he was hit. The driver was arrested within a few hours, but Finney knows that isn’t usually the case. She hopes the Medina Alert will help catch hit and run drivers, and give victims and their loved ones some help.
“There are people who still don’t know anything and they’re hurting because they have questions to ask and they want answers. My child did exist and I don’t want him to be forgotten, but I also don’t want other parents to go through this. This is by far the most horrendous thing that has happened in my life," said Finney.
The Colorado Legislature passed a statewide Medina Alert law that the governor could sign as soon as next week. It will take the alert system statewide. Stevenson said he wants to push to get the Medina Alert to Oregon as soon as next year. And Kristi Finney will be helping.
Many people discussing the hit-and-run issue on social media are using #juststop.