A bereaved mother whose 28-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver two years ago while biking on SE Division, has launched a website. Faces of Fatalities: Resources for Hit and Run Victims and Their Families is the work of Kristi Finney-Dunn. Since her son Dustin died in August 2011, Finney-Dunn has dedicated herself to public service and citizen activism and this website appears to be just her latest effort to spur the public dialogue around the scourge of dangerous driving and hit-and-run collisions.
Since her powerful and emotional address to her son’s killer in a Multnomah County courtroom just four months after the tragic collision, Finney-Dunn has worked tirelessly to share her story: She speaks at three different classes — DUII Victim Impact, High Risk Driver, and Share the Road — through the Trauma Nurses Talk Tough program at Legacy Emanuel Hospital; she speaks at Stop DUI Victim Impact Panels several times each month; she has testified to the Oregon Legislature about hit-and-run laws; she is a regular commenter here on BikePortland.org; she maintains a blog; she has co-facilitated a workshop at the NW Justice Forum; and she has even become a media spokesperson.
City of Portland Transportation Safety Summit.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
With this new website, Finney-Dunn has taken yet another step toward becoming a voice to be reckoned with on this very important topic.
Visitors to FacesOfFatalities.com can learn about Oregon’s existing hit-and-run laws and find a myriad of helpful resources including: statewide hit-and-run statistics; what hit-and-run victims should do after the collision; how to prevent collisions in the first place; where to find support groups after losing a loved one; and a recommended list of books to help cope with tragedy.
As we reported last month, Oregon has a long road ahead in changing the legal context and societal behaviors that lead to our current “hit-and-run culture”. The good news is that citizen activists like Kristi Finney-Dunn — people that have been personally impacted by tragedy — have a long history of helping spur real change.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage for someone with no experience in transportation policy or activism to step up and fight like this — especially when the issue is daunting even for professional, full-time advocates. Finney-Dunn’s commitment to take on this challenge and her willingness to turn an immense personal tragedy into activism is an inspiring lesson for all of us.
We hope her website can help organize other activists and provide a rallying point for future actions. And we have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from Kristi in the future — especially in the next legislative session. Stay tuned.