DPS seeking suspect, family offering reward in fatal hit and run - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

DPS seeking suspect, family offering reward in fatal hit and run

Eduardo Viramontes 1995 DWI arrest. (Source: Henderson County Jail) Eduardo Viramontes 1995 DWI arrest. (Source: Henderson County Jail)
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

An arrest warrant has been issued for the man who authorities say is responsible for the hit-and-run death of an East Texas motorcyclist.

The Department of Public Safety is seeking 54-year-old Eduardo Viramontes, of Ben Wheeler. Officials say Viramontes was driving the truck that hit and killed 65-year-old Jacky Johnston on April 1, 2012.

Johnston's son is still offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Viramontes' arrest and conviction.

Johnston, called "ZZ" by his friends, was hit by the truck while turning into his driveway on Highway 64 near New Chapel Hill.

Wooden crosses in ZZ's memory also serve as reminders that the person who caused Johnston's death has not been held responsible.

But Johnston's family hopes the arrest warrant will soon change that.

"We're excited about it. It has been a while coming, but the DPS office said they wanted to put together a solid case, and I'm glad that they've taken their time and gotten all the evidence that they feel like they need,"  says Jacky's son, Kody Johnston.

Some of that evidence includes Johnston's bike and the truck that hit him. Both vehicles are seen gas station surveillance video from the night of the crash. Sparks from Viramontes' truck dragging Johnston's motorcycle can be seen flying hundreds of feet down the road.

Officials say Johnston was thrown from his bike on impact.

"Troopers concluded their investigation, took the evidence they had before Judge Christi Kennedy. [Judge Kennedy] determined there was enough probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for our suspect, Eduardo Viramontes," says DPS Trooper Jean Dark.

The charge, Accident Involving Personal Injury or Death, is a third degree felony. Judge Kennedy set a recommended bond of $250,000.

According to Henderson County judicial records, Viramontes was arrested for DWI 17 years ago.

Johnston's son, Kody, is hoping whoever knows where Viramontes is, will turn him in.

"If you're aiding him in any way, you're as guilty as he is," Kody says.

"The reward still stands. We're still offering a $10,000 reward for anybody who has information that leads to his conviction," Kody adds.

They say that conviction wont just put Viramontes behind bars, but it will bring their family peace and justice for ZZ.

Family and friends of Jacky Johnston are planning a benefit in his memory on October 6, 2012.

They're hoping to raise awareness for motorcyclists and recoup some of the $10,000 in personal savings Johnston's son is using for the reward. You can stay up-to-date on the benefit through the Justice for ZZ (Jacky Wayne Johnston) Facebook page.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Viramontes is asked to contact the Tyler DPS Office at 903-939-6000.


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Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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