One year later, family still seeks justice in fatal hit-and-run - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

One year later, family still seeks justice in fatal hit-and-run

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

It has been more than a year since the search began for the man believed to have killed an East Texas motorcyclist in a hit-and-run wreck.

One year ago Monday, 65-year-old Jacky Wayne Johnston, known to friends as "ZZ," was turning into his driveway when a truck hit him from behind.

Monday was a painful day for the Johnston family, as his sons Kody and Michael, along with their family and friends, gathered to place a handmade wooden cross by the highway sign marking the place where Johnston's life was taken.

"It has been a long year, but I think the wait is the hardest part; waiting for somebody to come forward with some information," says one of Johnston's sons, Kody Johnston.

Both of Johnston's sons say it has also been hard helping their own children cope with the loss of their grandfather.

"We just got through moving and running across little things that belonged to my dad, and my son will remember, [things that were] Papa Z's. It hits hard when he remembers and says something about it," says Kody.

For those who knew Johnston, and pass his home on Highway 64 each day, the sign and crosses serve as a reminder that the person who hit him, still hasn't been found.

"They're going to catch him. I have complete faith that they're going to get him one day," says one of Johnston's sons, Michael Penneston.

"We will never give up on it. If he thinks for a minute that he has gotten away with something, he's way off," says Kody.

Gas station surveillance video was one of the first clues authorities had in Johnston's death. In the video, you can see the truck that hit him continue down the road with Johnston's bike still lodged underneath it. Authorities say Johnston was thrown from the motorcycle on impact. DPS has reason to believe the man behind the wheel was Eduardo Viramontes of Ben Wheeler.

Sunday afternoon in Kilgore, a crowd of Johnston's loved ones released 200 balloons in his memory. On a Facebook page, nearly 1,000 people continue to follow his family's quest for justice-- offering prayers, thoughts and memories.

"It's the little things that you don't realize when you have your dad, that you really miss when he's gone," says Kody.

Last August, an arrest warrant was issued for Viramontes, but authorities say he is still on the run. Johnston's family is offering a $10,000 dollar reward to the person who brings authorities the information that leads to his arrest and conviction.

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