Editor’s note: This story contains details of death that readers may find disturbing.
Justin Mirasty’s family wants others to know who he really was.
The 31-year-old was struck on Highway 2, north of Prince Albert near the Wahpeton turnoff, just over two years ago on Sept. 28, 2021. An orange SUV was reported to have fled the scene.
“You know when people hit a deer on the side of the road, they just leave it and then they drive? Justin being hit, I felt like they just left (him) and it was just no remorse or no feeling associated with hitting someone who meant so much to our family,” said Wendy Mirasty, Justin’s cousin.
“The walk, it will just help us knowing we’re doing what we can for him and it will help with our healing.”
The walk is scheduled to begin at the location where Justin died on Saturday at 11 a.m. Wendy anticipates they’ll arrive at Prince Albert Provincial Court around 4 p.m.
Wendy described her cousin as having an unmatched sense of humour.
“He was a very easy going guy. He was really funny. You could just have a conversation with him and whatever the conversation was, you’d just be laughing,” she said.
“I never heard anything bad about him at all, he was always just a really nice, good-hearted person.”
Justin was also a talented musician, she said, who was able to listen to a song and play it on the guitar by ear.
Both Wendy and Justin lived in Little Red River Reserve. She said Justin had been walking home from Prince Albert when he died.
“It really hit our family hard, it really did, and we didn’t have any idea that it was Justin until the day after because there was so much trauma. When they gave us the body back and we were planning the funeral, it was a closed casket and they did a viewing, but it was only his hand that we were able to see.”
Wendy said the family feels a lack of closure, not knowing who hit Justin or why they allegedly fled.
For her, the incident has created lasting impacts.
“I have children, and my worst fear from that event is that they would get ran over. I fear my children walking on the road or even being outside,” she said.
“I’m not able to sleep properly.”
Wendy said her family is unsure what the future holds – whether to anticipate the police laying charges or, if they did, how she would react.
Hosting an awareness walk, however, celebrates Justin’s meaning in their lives. She hopes it also spreads the message to other families in similar situations that they’re not alone.
“He wasn’t just somebody. He was loved and he meant a lot,” said Wendy.
The walk is open to the public.