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Justin Martinez, 18 – TX

Justin Martinez

Justin Martinez reached an untimely death at the age of 18 on July 21, 2011.

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, Justin was talking on his cellphone  while at the same time talking to a friend in the car next to him. When a car in front of him slowed down to make a right turn,  Jason swerved and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. He was killed instantly.

“The fact that [Justin] was not only distracted by the vehicle next to him, he was also distracted by having a cell phone conversation while he was driving down the road,” said Sgt. S. Wolverton with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “So many distractions going on that he obviously wasn’t paying attention to the traffic in front of him.”

Born in Germany, Justin is survived and remembered by his mother Tammy Martinez, sister Shelby and father Herbie. Justin was best known for his kindness and his selflessness – he would give you the shirt off his back. An avid hunter, Justin loved spending time outside and was a free spirit.

Justin Martinez According to his family, Justin never stopped smiling because he thought smiles were contagious and wanted everyone to share their own smile. In a video memorializing one year since his passing, Justin friends and family wrote little notes about Justin. His sister Shelby, described Justin as both her brother and her best friend. Other friends, said he “would always go out of his way to make someone’s day,” recalling fishing trips and chopping firewood.

“On one of my worst birthdays,” one friend wrote, “I was on the sidelines of the football game crying, and instead of paying attention to the game, Justin was trying to make me laugh. He was one of the only people who tried to make me smile that night.”

For Justin’s father Herbie, he urged teenagers today not to drive distracted. “No text or call is worth a life.”

Watch the 1 year memorial video honoring Justin’s life: