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'They stole my son, and they owe it to us to turn themselves in': A family’s plea to hit-and-run driver

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Christine and Jeremy Empey are still coming to terms with the loss of their son Dominik, and adding to their pain is the fact the person responsible drove away and still hasn't come forward.

Through sobs, Christine told CTV News London, "Whoever they are they stole my son, and they owe it to us to turn themselves in."

Dom would have turned 15 years old on Dec. 21. He died in hospital shortly after being struck by a vehicle at approximately 5:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The collision happened on Fairground Road, just west of the hamlet of Cultus, Ont.

Family members came together at the family home, trying to come to terms with the loss.

Dominik’s step-grandmother told CTV News London, “We just want to be here for Jeremy and Christine. We can't keep the pain away as much as we want to."

Dominik was a grade 10 student at Valley Heights Secondary School. After school on Wednesday, he travelled to the home of his best friend and his girlfriend, a brother and sister who lived just west of Cultus.

A cherished memory for Christine Empey as she taught Dominik how to drive a car on the family farm last summer. (Source: Christine Empey)

Dom and his friend walked to the convenience store in town, and were returning home when Dom was hit by what is now believed to be a silver GMC pickup.

Along with messages of support there are reports the family hopes will lead to an arrest.

Christine said some of it has been encouraging.

“We got a tip that a neighbour to where he was hit has video of a truck matching the description of a truck about half an hour before the accident,” she said. “So, I'm hoping that pans out."

Norfolk County OPP believe the vehicle has damage at the front end, on the passenger side.

Over the noon hour on Friday, Dom's friend and girlfriend, along with their mother and another friend, returned to the scene of the collision.

They were looking for small remembrances of the young man they cared so much about.

According to Christine, Dom's friend has barely spoken since witnessing the tragedy. His mother said their family will also be impacted for years to come.

Like Christine and Jeremy, they are trying to hold onto the best memories of the Dominik.

A roadside memorial for Dominik Empey sits along Fairground Road, near Cultus, Ont. on Dec. 8, 2023. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London) When Christine thinks of her son, she thinks of a funny, sweet, goofy kid.

"He's just a goof ball. He just didn't care what anyone else thought,” she said.

His mother admitted that school wasn't Dom's favorite thing in the world.

That doesn't mean he didn't have a passion for learning, but it was very much focused on all things motorized,

He loved motorcycles, quads and cars, and a hand-me-down farm car provided one of Christine's favourite memories from last summer.

As family members giggled and wiped tears, she told CTV News London, "We were on the family farm and he wanted to drive. So, I let him drive. He just thought he was so cool in that car."

A GoFundMe campaign has since been set up for the family to help ease any financial burdens, and at the time of publication had raised $9,380 out of a goal of $10,000.

A public funeral service will be held at the Verhoeve Funeral Homes Chapel in Langton on Dec. 13. 

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