Big Don was passionate about two things in life: music and his family. Twenty-five-year-old Dontae Hill graduated from Armwood High School, where he was known for his rap skills. In recent years, he even started recording his own songs and publishing them through YouTube videos. But as much as he loved music, he loved his one-year-old son even more. Affectionately called “Little Don”, the toddler will soon be a big brother, but both children will grow up without their father.
According to police reports, Dontae was killed in a violent car accident. The impact was so intense that it actually split the car in half in the middle of a busy intersection. The accident is still under investigation, but police believe 28-year-old Johnathan Honza was likely drunk when he slammed into Dontae’s car. Officers reported the smell of alcohol and obvious signs of impairment when they arrived on the scene. Sergeant Steve Gaskins said, “If he wasn’t sitting in the hospital, he’d be in jail right now.”
The accident happened just as Hill’s Acura started to enter an intersection. Honza ran the red light and crashed into the driver’s side at full speed. Debris from the Acura flew across the intersection and hit another car stopped at the red light, but no one in that vehicle was injured. Hill died shortly after the collision at Tampa General Hospital, the same place where he was born just 25 years earlier.
Honza was also transported to the hospital where he is being treated for serious injuries. Officials report that Honza had been previously accused of driving under the influence when he drove onto a curb in 2013 and got his car stuck. When police arrived on the scene, Honza reportedly was slurring his words, but refused to do a sobriety test or consent to a blood test. Charges were later reduced to reckless driving and Honza was placed on probation.
Honza also had two prior DUI charges in Oregon in 2008 and 2009. He failed to appear at court dates for both charges and there are still outstanding warrants for his arrest, along with a third warrant related to a charge for possession of alcohol.
Hill’s father said he was getting dressed for work when police notified him that his son had been in an accident. Before he could get to the hospital, other family members were calling and he saw a news report that showed images of his son’s car split in half. When he got to the hospital, it was too late and Dontae was already gone. His father is still trying to make sense of the tragedy and why Honza would choose to get behind the wheel after drinking, “If he was under the influence, why couldn’t he have called Uber or someone to take him home so this incident never would have taken place?”
Tampa personal injury attorney Bill Winters said, “Drunk driving claims thousands of innocent lives every year. This is a senseless tragedy where one person’s poor decisions have robbed two young children of every knowing what it’s like to grow up with an adoring father.”