A 23-year-old gay Houston man who called Montrose home for little more than a year was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Friday by a driver who ran a red light on Westheimer.
The Houston Police Department continues to investigate the incident, which took place about 12:30 a.m. as Michael Alexander Hill walked from his apartment near Westheimer and Taft to meet friends, according to About Magazine.
“The victim attempted to cross the street at [400 Westheimer] and was struck by a dark four-door vehicle of unknown make or model,” Sgt. J. Roque said in a prepared statement. “According to witnesses, the driver ran the red light and did not stop to provide assistance to the victim.”
Hill died at the scene after suffering multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized by Kornegay Funeral Home in Camden, S.C., near where Hill grew up in Lexington.
Casey Ray said he met Hill soon after moving to Houston from Alabama in early 2015. The two became instant friends.
“Alex was my first and closest friend here in Houston. I've known him since we both moved here in January. We had just celebrated his 23rd birthday in December. He was taken from us way too soon and he was very beloved by all who knew him in the Montrose/Houston community,” Ray told Project Q Houston.
“He was always very independent and never really relied on anybody for help, but he was always the first person to offer help to anybody that needed it. He was very intellectual, opinionated, cultured, stylish, friendly, kind, and caring. If you didn't know him, you'd think he was very shy. However, if you talk to him about one of his many interests – such as cooking, politics, foreign cultures and figure skating – he could talk to you for hours,” Ray added.
Landon Chapman, who described himself as close friends with Hill, said the men were inseparable.
“He was one of my bestfriends and we and a few other people hung out every second of free time we had. And if we weren't hanging out then we were constantly texting in our group chat that circle of friends had,” Chapman said.
“Alex was such a selfless human being. He put everyone's needs before his own and he would make sure everyone else was happy and taken care first. He was always super nice and really welcoming to anyone he would meet and would instantly put a smile on a strangers face. Alex was always an amazing friend to have around and someone we would all get excited about seeing. I have so many incredible memories with him and it pains me to know I won't get to make anymore. I am just blessed I got to know him and spend as much time as I could with him while I could,” he added.
In January 2015, Hill moved to Houston and started work at Brennan's on Smith and later moved to State of Grace on Westheimer. Hill also worked as a server for nearly two years at a restaurant near Columbia, S.C., not far from Central Carolina Technical College where he attended school, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Ray said Hill worked as a waiter to put himself through school in South Carolina, where he earned a degree from the University of South Carolina in 2014. He wanted to continue his education when he arrived in Houston.
“After school, he packed up every personal belonging he could in his Jeep and moved here to Houston. He was saving money for a new car and graduate school by first working at Brennan's and then working at State of Grace,” Ray said.
“With his intellect and drive, I truly believe he could easily have been a master of any career he pursued. He was studying for the foreign services exam, but graduate school was his back up plan if he didn't pass and get accepted into the foreign services,” he added.
In the wake of Hill's death, family members launched a Go Fund Me campaign to help pay for his funeral.
I had the privilege of being an aunt to Michael Alexander Hill or Alex as I called him since he made this world a brighter place twenty one years ago. He was a brilliant and determined young child. As he grew he had interest in cooking, politics, and travel. He made friends wherever he went and had a deep caring nature.
In the last year he left his home state of South Carolina and moved to Houston, Texas. While being in Houston he found a “family” among his friends. He loved his new life in the big city and had begun ice skating with a trainer and cherished being able to serve others as a fine dining waiter.
On January 8th Alex left this world in a tragic way by being struck by a speeding car while legally walking through a cross walk in Houston, Texas.
Nearly 90 people have donated $7,480 since Alex His Sweet Soul Has Wings was created on Saturday.
The campaign says Hill's family can't afford to bury him.
Due to the unexpected, grievous and quick nature of his passing, his grandmother is going into profound debt in order to provide a respectful service to honor Alex's life.
His parents lack the resources to assist in his burial.
We would like to start raising the funds right away. This fundraising effort is near to my heart, as Alex left a gift of kindness and love to those around him. I want his life to be remembered in a positive light and not as a burden on my family.
Friends described Hill as a kind, Southern gentleman, according to About.
“Alex was one of the first people I met in Houston. He was kind, deeply intellectual, and loved his friends. He was a true Southern gentleman” states a friend on Facebook.