Victim of hit-and-run crash remembered as talented Toronto artist, 'full of life'
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018 12:16PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 10, 2018 4:17PM EDT
Toronto’s Kensington Market community is grappling with the loss of a popular local artist, who was killed early Monday morning in a hit-and-run crash.
Andre Alexander was riding his electric longboard eastbound on Sheppard Avenue East near Doris Avenue shortly after 1 a.m. when he fell off his board.
It was only about ten seconds later, police say, that he was hit by a car travelling in the same direction.
The driver reportedly got out of her vehicle and checked on Alexander before getting back in the car and leaving the scene.
The 34-year-old father was rushed to hospital but he did not survive. He leaves behind a young daughter.
Alexander, known commonly by his artist name Hip Pop Art, was an “inspirational artist, loving father to his beautiful little girl, a gentleman who left a smile on everyone’s face, and a memorable presence to those he met along the way,” according to a GoFundMe set up in his memory.
Alexander's aunt reflected on his legacy, saying he was a fantastic father, full of compassion, love and creativity.
“Our family is praying – our family is praying for each other but we’re also praying for this family because I can’t imagine what it must be like to have your own child and know that this is someone else’s child who has just died as a result of these circumstances, as a result of this accident,” Muriel Alexander said.
Steep Daniels, a friend of Alexander, will honour the artist with a mural in his home neighbourhood.
“I want to honour his spirit, as he honoured everyone here in the community,” he told CTV News Toronto. “He was a community artist and that's what I want to honour here today, the community that he supported.”
The sudden loss has rocked the Kensington Market community Alexander called home.
"He had beautiful artwork lined up here by Jodie's Joint and I was drawn to it because it was so full of life, like his smile," resident Jenny Newton said.
On the GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $4,000 of its $5,000 goal by Tuesday afternoon, tributes poured in for Alexander, who was often referred to as "Dre."
"Dre was one of a kind," Andrew Branciere wrote.
"He had the biggest heart and anybody I've ever met in my entire life [sic]. He had a never-say-die attitude and always tried to do everything in his power to be successful. It was a driving motivation that you don't see very often."
Others took the chance to remind mourners of the dangers for on the road as pedestrians or otherwise.
Jack Hsu said the "GTA e-rider community" lost a "great rider and a great friend."
"For all of you who are out riding my advice is to ride on the road or on the sidewalk, whichever is safer, and to always wear a helmet," Hsu wrote. “As exhilarating as it is for us to cruise these streets it can all wash away in an instant."
A witness was able to take a picture of the older model, silver or grey Toyota Yaris involved in the collision before it sped away.
The driver has been described as an Asian woman in her 40s with shoulder-length hair. Investigators believe a child was in the back of her car at the time of the crash.
Anyone with information about the vehicle or driver in question is being asked to call Toronto police or Crime Stoppers.