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Steuben Sheriff Honors Couple For Work On DWI Victims' Panel

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It’s been almost 40 years since Lenny Stevens died. 

At 9 p.m. Aug. 7, 1979 on Wolf Run Road in the Town of Campbell, the 16-year-old youth was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by a drunken driver. 

Lenny’s bike was ripped out from under him and he was dragged for yards before becoming free of the vehicle. The driver continued on.

The teenager managed to crawl into some nearby woods. He was found, too late, by a search team at 7:30 a.m. the next day.

The drunken driver who killed Lenny was sentenced later to six months’ probation for leaving the scene of an accident. 

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Lenny’s parents, Ralph and Grace Stevens, soon began attending the Steuben County Victim’s Impact Panel to tell others charged with driving while drinking about their son’s experiences. 

They faithfully attended that panel for 30-plus years.

“We proudly express our collective appreciation, gratitude and recognition,” Allard said, in a proclamation Monday before the county Legislature’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee, as the couple officially stepped down.

Ralph Stevens said later they have a simple presentation for the panel, which meets every two months.

“I bring his mangled bike,” Ralph Stevens said. “I bring his bloody clothes. I bring the debris left when he was hit. It gets their attention.”

Grace Stevens said they were motivated by one simple hope.

“We don’t want anyone to go through what we did,” she said. “We went through hell.”

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Mary    38

I don't even need to see the bike or the clothes to have the impression left in my gut right now. UGH. Bless them. Probation. Wow. Times have changed.

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