Friends gather at the Downtown Rescue Mission to remember Eddie Biggs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Downtown Rescue Mission is mourning the loss of a friend this weekend.

55-year-old Louie Edward Biggs was struck in a hit-and-run crash while trying to cross University drive, late Thursday night.  He later died at the hospital.

Police located the driver of the vehicle a short distance from the crash scene, and the cause of the accident is under investigation.

Friends gathered at the Downtown Rescue Mission's Fourth of July Picnic on Friday to remember a man known as Eddie.

Eddie didn't have much in the way of possessions, or a house, but he did have a home and people who loved him.

The picnic opened with a moment of silence, the usual air of celebration overshadowed by grief.

"It was a great loss to lose Eddie." says Tonia Beverly, a staff member at the Downtown Rescue Mission.

Eddie Biggs was a who had experienced more than his share of hard times and was trying to turn his life around.

Whether or not Eddie saw the car that took his life is unknown, but friends say that as a deaf-mute it would have been impossible for him hear the car coming.

Beth Bailey, a volunteer at the mission, says that Eddie had been working through Skype conversations with the Alabama Deaf and Blind School to help calm his anxieties.  The end goal was to help him get back home.

"He's not just a homeless guy. He's a person." remembers Beth Bailey. "A lot of times we see these people as nobody. And he was very kind and very appreciative. And he had needs and wants and desires and dreams, too."

Grief councilors were made available for Eddie's friends.

"I hope his death was not in vain." said Tonia Beverly.  "I hope that everyone that came in got counseling and understands they need to make a change to improve their lives and allow us to help them do that."

A memorial service is planned for Tuesday.