Family, fraternity brothers honor Texas Tech student with vigil after crash

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Justin Turner’s family is saying their goodbyes with the support of his friends in the Greek community at Texas Tech. The college junior suffered a life-threatening brain injury after getting hit by a car at the intersection of University and the Marsha Sharp Freeway access road Saturday night.

His family has made the difficult decision to end life support for their son and begin the process of organ donation.

Tuesday night, Turner’s fraternity brothers hosted a candlelight vigil in front of their lodge at Greek Circle. He was a proud member of Sigma Chi. Hundreds of family, friends and fellow students showed up to honor him.

“It really means the world to see how much everybody is putting into this and the Lubbock community, and the Texas Tech community and the Greek community, and everything that they’ve been willing and able to give to his family and all of us, as we work through this troubling time,” fraternity brother David Cathey said.

The junior at Texas Tech, from Fort Worth, rushed the fraternity in 2021.

“He just emulated a bright smile, positive energy, was just always cracking jokes. He never took a moment to think before his actions to put his brothers first,” Sigma Chi President Peyton Hanna said.

“Everyone will talk about his smile, he was just, when you see him he’s really excited to see you. And I got the pleasure of just being able to play sports with him,” fraternity brother Jacob Costello said.

His father, Jim, says Justin was a bundle of joy from the beginning and an unbelievable competitor. He played college baseball for a year before transferring to Texas Tech.

“His mother and I are overwhelmed to see, to learn what kind of mark he made here in Lubbock, Texas,” Turner said.

As their only child, Turner says he and Justin’s mother are devastated, but they’re making it through with all of the support that’s been given. Turner says so many of his brothers flooded the hospital Monday night, it got too crowded and they were sent back to their lodge. Turner went there later and heard countless stories about his son.

“It took away a lot of the pain, just to see the impact that he continued to have on so many other guys. I keep hearing that was the loyalest friend anybody had in the chapter, and that just makes me so proud,” Turner said.

His dad says Justin is an organ donor, so he is entering the Kingdom a hero. Family and friends have raised more than $40,000 to help the family with medical expenses.

“Everybody has helped me understand what an awesome kid I have. I never stepped out of that circle and took a look,” Turner said. “I just stayed focused on him and wanted him to be careful, wanted him to have a good time, wanted him to come out here and make friends and relationships that lasted. And I had no idea how hard he succeeded. So, I’m seeing that now. And I’m proud. I’m proud in spite of the pain we’re going through.”

Sigma Chi also plans to create a scholarship in Justin’s honor.