Photos courtesy of Tiffanie Stanfield
The last thing Jameca Stanfield ever did was try to cross a street. But shortly after midnight on April 13, 2016, a red Lexus ES350 speeding along North Grand Boulevard fatally struck the 39-year-old — and kept going.
"I was grieving," recalls her sister, Tiffanie Stanfield. "But I also wanted to know, who killed my sister? Working both those at the same time, it was not an easy task."
At the time, Stanfield says she looked for a victim's support group geared toward the survivors of hit-and-runs. When that search came up empty, an idea planted itself in her head: If such a group didn't exist, she'd create it herself.
The result is a new registered non-profit, Fighting Hit and Run Driving, or Fighting H.A.R.D. Though still in its early stages of fundraising, its founder envisions the group eventually providing the resources she wished she'd had during the year-long investigation into her sister's killing.
The search eventually led police to arrest the driver of that speeding Lexus, Alice McClure, in May of this year. Yet during the investigation, Stanfield remembers feeling "lost in the shuffle."
"I want this organization [to provide] that compassion and understanding. But most important is the guidance," she notes. "If you’re feeling apprehension about calling the police department, or contacting the detective directly, I want you to feel comfortable in being persistent. Because that is your loved one."
Being a pedestrian in St. Louis can be dangerous. According to a KMOV tally
of available data, more than 720 crashes involving cars hitting pedestrians or cyclists were recorded in 2015 in St. Louis and St. Louis County, a 30 percent jump from the previous year.
The rash of hit-and-runs around St. Louis continues to produce new victims. In July, a woman was killed while pushing a stalled car
in Ferguson; In September, an 86-year-old was killed in St. Louis by a pickup truck that police believe may have been drag-racing
. And on Thursday night, a man was injured and transported "urgently to the hospital"
after being hit on North Grand, only about a mile south of where Jameca Stanfield was killed last year.
As for Tiffanie, she hopes to build the burgeoning organization into both a resource for survivors and a vehicle for advocacy. Along with a scholarship fund in her sister's name, Tiffanie says she'd like to see the state legislature pass increased punishments for hit-and-run killers.
Tiffanie is also awaiting the trial of her sister's alleged killer. The 57-year-old McClure, who lives in the north county suburb of Black Jack, is currently facing two felony charges, for involuntary manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash, in addition to a misdemeanor charge of making a false report to police.
According to a probable cause report, McClure had initially claimed that her car had been stolen in a robbery before the crash, but "an investigation into the defendant’s robbery report revealed that no such robbery incident took place."
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com