STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — The 33-year-old man who was killed while driving on M-37 Monday afternoon was a father to two girls who was on his way home from work.
Matthew Hoaglin was killed in the crash in Tyrone Township, near Kent City, around 3 p.m. Police said Hoaglin was headed south on M-37 when a semi-truck driving along Fruit Ridge Avenue pulled out in front of him. Hoaglin broadsided the truck, forcing his pickup truck under the semi’s trailer. The pickup was crushed.
Hoaglin’s longtime girlfriend and mother of his 5-year-old daughter Mackenzie Boatman said she got the news about an hour after the crash when Michigan State Police showed up at her home.
She had already grown worried because Hoaglin hadn’t arrived home at the time she’d expected. Boatman said she knew something was wrong.
Her biggest concern now is for her Hoaglin’s children.
“How do you tell a little girl that she’s never going to see her dad again?” Boatman wondered, holding back tears as she spoke to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “It’s just, it’s heartbreaking.”
“He cared,” Hoaglin’s cousin, Kenny Ybabez, said. “He loved his family.”
In the front yard of the family home Tuesday, Hoaglin’s snowmobile remained parked as he’d left it. Inside, photos show his love for his children.
Boatman said she and Hoaglin had been a couple for the past eight years. Plenty of the time, she admitted, wasn’t happy. Boatman said both she and Hoaglin battled drug addiction. But after extensive treatment, she said they were clean.
Hoaglin, Boatman said, was finally doing well. He had stopped using drugs, was spending more time with his family and was working in construction in a well-paying job.
“We were building our life right now,” Boatman said.
Ybabez said the timing of Hoaglin’s death is the hardest thing for him to accept.
“There was times in my life and when me and Matt were growing up where something like this wouldn’t have really shocked me, but now when he’s here and he’s doing the right thing and he’s working hard and he’s trying and he wants his family, the timing is what just really baffles me,” he said as tears welled in his eyes. “Why now?”
Michigan State Police are investigating the crash. The name of the semi driver police say was at fault was not released Tuesday. Police said they did not suspect alcohol or drugs to have played a role in the crash. Once the investigation is complete, crashes involving a death are typically referred to the county prosecutor, who decides what, if any, charges should be filed.
Boatman spoke to Hoaglin five minutes before the crash, she said. She told the Hoaglin she loved him. Her hope is that the tragedy encourages others to do the same with those they hold dear.
“I would hope that people would start to examine their lives and realize that life is short,” Boatman said. “Everything can change in a matter of minutes.”