On Jan. 22, 2013, SPS junior Justin Dakota Addison was struck and killed by an SUV at the intersection of the Tammany Trace and Josephine Street in Abita while cycling. Justin was a competitive cyclist, talented photographer and an artist. The following video was made in memory of Justin with the intention of giving people a special way to remember him.
Although I did not personally know Justin, my brother was in his class. But that’s not why I made the video. Back in 2014, shortly after Justin’s death, I was also hit by an SUV while cycling at the intersection of Monroe Street and Lafayette Street in Mandeville. I was not wearing a helmet, and my head hit the windshield of the car. I suffered a shattered spleen and 11 fractures and breaks, three of which were ribs, which hurt a lot. While I was in the hospital, I would think about Justin, who was a role model in my eyes. With one year apart from both of our accidents, I survived and he didn’t, and to this day I still ask myself, “Why?”
During the summer while my brother and I were surfing, he told me how Justin’s life impacted his life both in school and outside of school. In the video, I am seen riding my bike around the St. Paul’s track and on the Trace wearing Justin’s Holy Rollers jersey. When I reach the rest stop dedicated to Justin, I think about the reason I was spared and my purpose in life.