Well-known local poet killed in Norfolk motorcycle crash

Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 21:14:30-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Jeff Hewitt is remembered as a poet who always kept people on their toes.

"Jeff was one of the edgiest poets you've ever met," said Jack Callan, a friend and fellow poet. "You would think that there was no craft to it, but it was exactly the opposite. He knew everything about the ins-and-outs of poetry."

Hewitt was very well-known in the local arts scene and President of the Poetry Society of Virginia. News 3 interviewed Hewitt last September about his efforts to reinstate the drama program at Granby High School, where his daughter is a senior.

Hewitt died in a crash Thursday. Callan happened to witness the after-math. He says he was driving up Colley Avenue when Hewitt drove up behind him on his motorcycle. Callan pulled into a parking lot before 35th Street while Hewitt kept going. Moments later, Hewitt was hit by a truck.

Medics rushed Hewitt to the hospital, but he died shortly after arrival. Police say the investigation remains ongoing.

"It all just happened in seconds," said Callan. "He was gone in a second."

Friends say Hewitt was a regular at Cafe Stella in Ghent, where he was known to start debates about music or politics. "Everyone knew him there," said Robert Arthur, another fellow poet who calls Hewitt his best friend. "Everyone loved him."

Hewitt was also known for his music and photography. "He was good at everything. Jeff was good at everything," said Arthur. "He was amazing."

In an effort to remember and grieve him, friends are gathering Friday night to exchange poems. Callan has one already written. "You picked a pretty day to ride," it starts out. The poem talks about the crash and how he helped notify friends and family. "Where were you going so fast that it couldn't wait?"