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Alleged driver charged in hit-and-run crash that claimed life of 14-year-old pedestrian

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A 35-year-old man has been charged in connection with a hit-and-run that claimed the life of Dominik Empey earlier this month.

According to Norfolk County OPP, at approximately 5:24 p.m. on Dec. 6, police entered into an investigation after a 14-year-old pedestrian was struck by a vehicle while walking with a friend on Fairground Road in Cultus, and the driver fled the scene.

The victim was later identified as 14-year-old Dominik Empey of Cultus. 

In an update from OPP on Monday, after executing a search warrant at a residence located on Norfolk County Road 28 in Langton, investigators discovered and seized the involved vehicle, confirming the identity of the driver.

Members of the Norfolk County OPP Crime Unit took one individual into custody without incident.

As a result of the investigation, 35-year-old Nicholas Burtch of Norfolk County has been charged with fail to stop at accident resulting in death for his alleged involvement.

A memorial dedicated to 14-year-old Dominik Empey, who was struck and killed by a vehicle, is seen in Cultus, Ont. on Dec. 11, 2023. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London) The accused was detained for the purpose of appearing at a bail hearing.

In a statement to CTV News London, Dominik's mother Christine Empey said, "We are sad and angry about the loss of Dominik but do not wish harm on the individual that did this."

In the meantime, momentos continue to be added to the memorial along Fairground Road where Dominik was struck and killed. The momentos speak to his passion for cars and motorcycles, and also include energy drinks, a country music CD and symbols of horses.

A public funeral service to celebrate Dominik's life will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Verhoeve Funeral Home Chapel in Langton.

“The OPP would like to express its appreciation to the public for contributing valuable information during the investigation,” police said in a statement. 

— With files from CTV News London's Gerry Dewan

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