Valley family seeks justice a year after hit and run driver killed ROTC student

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A Valley family is searching for justice a year after a hit-and-run driver killed their teenage son. (KFSN)

A Valley family is searching for justice a year after a hit-and-run driver killed their teenage son. Matthew Swepston, 17, died on the Fourth of July weekend last year.

Matthew was all set for his senior year at Reedley High School and then a move to the Marines. But he never got the chance to fulfill his dreams.

Matthew Swepston lived a life full of passions. His mom remembers them all: The Steelers, his pottery pianos, and maybe his greatest passion, the Marines.

All these memories live on, decorating a bookshelf in her home-- but her son does not.

As Matthew walked down a rural road last July, someone crashed into him then left him to die. A year later, who that driver was remains a mystery.

"We thought by now somebody would've come forward, but there's just so much hearsay and people saying 'this person did it' but nobody's come forward and have been actually telling the truth of what happened," said Matthew's mother, Amber Johnson-Sparks.

The investigation is still open and occasionally, a new tip gets their hopes up again and keeps the lead detective busy.

"He's following up on everything," said Matthew's stepfather, Max Sparks. "A couple months ago, we got a couple phone calls about something so we got back in touch with him and he's still looking into everything."

Matthew's high school class graduated without him, but with a tribute to him -- and special t-shirts for his friends. His NJROTC unit honored him with a plaque. And his family spent a second Fourth of July without him.

"We just take it day by day," his mother said. "It's a lot harder. It's hard to get through the day without thinking about him and what we would've been doing."

There's a reward for information leading to an arrest in the hit and run. Matthew's family says the driver might not have even been at fault for the crash, but they need to step up and take responsibility for leaving the scene.

Related Topics:
hit and run4th of julyfresno countyReedley
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