Local News

Vigil Honors Hit-and-Run Victim With 'Big Heart'

Posted March 5, 2008

— Family and friends held a candlelight vigil Tuesday night at Kirk of Kildaire Church in honor of 21-year-old Matthew Kraft’s life. It was an emotional tribute.

Friends described Kraft as a person with a big heart.

"He joked around all the time. He always tried to put a smile on people's face(s) and just really cared about everybody," Kraft’s girlfriend, Michelle Dixon, said.

Kraft was killed early Saturday morning while sitting at a traffic light with Dixon.

Police say Kenya Alston was driving drunk when he slammed into the back of Kraft's car at more than 70 mph. Dixon walked away from the fatal crash.

“The whole time in the hospital, I just thought he was going to get up and go ‘just kidding,’ because that's just the type of guy he was," Dixon recalled.

Kraft was a longtime server at the Chili's restaurant in Cary. Managers there organized the vigil for the Pennsylvania native. Kraft's brother also lives in the area and works in the restaurant business.

Co-workers said the Chili's was Kraft's home away from home.

“There is no greater family than the family we have at Chili's in Cary,” General Manager Joey Zelenka said.

Zelenka said the company was grooming Kraft to become a manager. Dixon said that was part of his long-term career plan.

Kraft's parents returned to Pennsylvania Tuesday. Funeral services will be held in his hometown.


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  • george2819 Mar 6, 2008

    As the father of two daughters who work at chillis,You could tell by their sorrow that Matthew was a special person and that was loved by many
    I can't understand a 70 mph chase though city streets. Matt was killed for no reason.

  • big dady Mar 5, 2008

    drunk drivers need to stay of the streets we need check points to catch this guys before happens again,this guy need to stay on jail as long we can keep it he is very dangers

  • mom2threecld Mar 5, 2008

    hopefully he will get life. now here is a person who drove drunk,killed someone and probably will have no charges for a while, the 17 year old had a true accident with the 15 year old that was killed and they want to make an example out of him and punish him.. WHERE is there JUSTICE????????????? make the example out of the drunk drivers, not an innocent 17 year old boy who had a true accident

  • patriot 16 Mar 5, 2008

    The guy will probably just get a suspended license, then he'll drive around anyways. Gotta love our court system.

  • lukie Mar 5, 2008

    Now those drivers are the ones who need to be charged not the teenager whose 15 year girlfriend was killed.

  • Feisty Redneck Lady Mar 5, 2008

    I was eating at this Chilis when the workers found out about this man. It was a sad scene for all of the waiters, you could tell they all adored this guy. Great guy from what they were saying about him

  • beachbum1 Mar 5, 2008

    I hope the guy that hit him doesn't get a slap on the wrist. He's been in trouble for years. Time to keep him behind bars so he won't hurt someone else.

  • garnertoy Mar 5, 2008

    seems like the good people goes first