It’s been 13 years since he was killed in a shootout with a poacher, but, in Wharton County, Justin Hurst remains on patrol – in name at least.
The Game Warden Justin Hurst Memorial Highway stretches from the intersection with FM 2765 in El Campo to where Hwy. 71 meets the Matagorda County line.
And, in El Campo’s first park with a pond, his name has been pounded into a boulder on the West Loop. The ducks he loved so much frequently waddle by as children play.
“We’ll be making the rounds (on Tuesday),” his father Allen Hurst said Monday. “It’s a sad day.”
Tuesday would have been his son’s birthday, his 47th. Instead Game Warden Hurst succumbed to his injuries March 17, 2007.
The night before, Hurst had gone to assist others after an effort to ticket an East Bernard man for shooting from the roadway led to a chase and ultimately a shootout near the Lissie Cemetery on Hwy. 90-A.
Hurst’s son Kyle was just a four-month-old baby when his father was killed. Now 13, the boy knows only the stories of the game wardens who have always been there to serve in his stead.
His father’s killer was found guilty of capital murder and executed in 2016.