Memorial walk for drunk driving victim - - Jackson, MS

Memorial walk for drunk driving victim

Emmett and Gloria Johnson are turning some of their pain into energy.

The dozens of people gathered with them at Capitol and State Streets Saturday morning just finished a 5k walk in remembrance of the Johnsons' only son, 18 year old Michael. He had just graduated from Murrah High School, when he was killed at this intersection.

"A drunk driver, right here at Capitol, June 4th (2005)," Gloria says.

The Johnsons say a repeat drunk driving offender took the life of Johnson, a star high school basketball player who's real passion was baseball.

"He also was a shortstop on the Murrah baseball team. He had just signed a scholarship to play at Co-Lin. He was going to play two years, then the Washington Nationals were going to take a look at him," Emmett says.

Those who came out Saturday are helping to benefit the Michael Johnson Athletic Memorial Scholarship. The Johnsons want to award $1,500 to a future Murrah High School graduate every year.

"This is a young man who's whole life was ahead of him. The message is, hopefully more awareness of repeat offenders, more can be done in terms of legislation to stop that from happening again," says Veronica Johnson Crawford, Emmett's sister and Michael's aunt.

In 2009, the Michael Johnson Memorial Field was created near Smith Wills stadium. It's a place the family visited again Saturday, as a reminder of the young man who always aimed high.

"Just like the lady was praying a few minutes ago. She says I know he's looking down at us smiling," Emmett says. 

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