Friends and family members of Justin Turner, the Texas Tech University junior who died last week from injuries sustained in an accident, described the Fort Worth-area native as a shining light who left a powerful legacy.
“JT was a gem of a kid and an incredible athlete, and his mother and I are so proud,” Turner’s father, Jim Turner, told KLBK-TV.
Turner, 21, was hit by a vehicle while crossing a street in Lubbock on Sept. 23 around 10:15 p.m., according to KCBD. He was taken to the hospital with a life-threatening brain injury.
The evening of Sept. 26, a few hours before Turner was taken off life support, his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers held a candlelight vigil in his honor.
“He just emulated a bright smile, positive energy, was just always cracking jokes,” Sigma Chi President Peyton Hanna told KCBD. “He never took a moment to think before his actions to put his brothers first.”
Jim Turner said the support from the Texas Tech community has been overwhelming, and so many people have come forward to tell him how his son had impacted their lives.
“Everybody has helped me understand what an awesome kid I have,” Jim Turner told KCBD. “I never stepped out of that circle and took a look. 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.”
Justin Turner was born in Grapevine and grew up in Bedford, according to his online obituary. He played baseball at Dallas Christian College before transferring to Texas Tech.
Jim Turner shared in a public social media post that his son was a full organ donor. His organs gave life to as many as nine people, according to his obituary.
Turner’s Sigma Chi fraternity brothers set up a GoFundMe to help his family cover his medical expenses. They described Turner as “a vibrant soul, full of dreams and aspirations.”
“Justin’s generous act of organ donation will touch the lives of many,” the GoFundMe said. “His heart, his lungs, his kidneys, and more will breathe new life into those who desperately need them. Through this profound gift, he continues to be a hero, impacting the world in an amazing way.“