OMAHA (KPTM)- Actors at local haunted house Mystery Manor get their make up ready for Monday night's scares. Though they're preparing for a frightful night, they're doing it for a good reason—to remember a fellow actor.
"We're keeping matt alive in our thoughts, in other people's thoughts," said Bob Schmill.
Schmill's son, 23-year-old Matt Schmill, was hit by a car and killed in 2004. The driver took off, but admitted to the accident the next day.
"Even though she admitted she had been drinking in the park prior and hadn't had a drink since and her back was way over, because she left, the state couldn't prove that she was drunk. So we needed to change things," said Schmill.
Schmill took responsibility to make that change. Nearly eight years after matt's death a state law was passed in his honor.
The law started back on January 1, 2012. It states that if a driver hits a pedestrian causing injury or death and leaves the accident that driver could face up to 20 years in prison.
"It isn't just something that, say, 'Well, I'll just go out and drink and rive, I'll be fine, I've done it before and I'll get home.' Well there's going to be, sooner or later, there's going to be that time that you won't make it or you cause somebody else not to make it," said Schmill.
It's all good fun to put on makeup and costumes for the holidays and maybe have a scare or two. But Schmill said it's better to do it responsibly.
"I have not yet seen a responsible drunk, so it has to be the rest of us to help each other be responsible," he said.
The first bill in Matt's honor was passed in 2006. The law only called for five years in prison if a driver left the scene. Schmill and lawmakers felt the need to increase the punishment to 20 years so drivers would take drinking and driving seriously.
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