Wyoming crash victim dies on wedding day

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — When Wyoming police officers arrived on the scene of a crash involving a motorcyclist and a suspected drunken driver, it immediately looked bad for the man riding the bike.

“We knew he was badly hurt. We were hopeful that he was going to be all right,” Capt. James Maguffee said of the crash on Chicago Drive the night of Aug. 12. “Our officers conducted CPR on the scene. Life EMS and our fire personnel were doing everything they could. We were very hopeful.”

The motorcyclist, 38-year-old Nate Walma, a U.S. Navy veteran who was engaged to be married, was rushed to the hospital.

On Saturday, six days after the crash, he died.

It was his wedding day.

“I actually hadn’t heard that until you told me that today,” Macguffee said. “What a terrible tragedy.”

Records show the suspect in the crash is Matthew George. He was booked into the Kent County jail by Wyoming police the night of the crash under suspicion of drunken driving. 24 Hour News 8 also learned George was driving on a suspended license and was on probation for weapons charges.

He has not yet been charged in the crash that killed Walma.

“That investigation is still underway,” Maguffee said. “We’re waiting on some toxicology results and we fully expect to present a case to the prosecutor in the coming days.

“He could spend the better part of a couple decades in prison over this, potentially,” he said of the suspect.

Meanwhile, rather than celebrating, Walma’s fiancee Andee Talsma is planning his funeral.

She sent 24 Hour News 8 the following statement Monday:

“Thank you to all who have sent prayers and support to the family over the last week. It is with heavy hearts that we had to say goodbye to Nathaniel Walma Saturday morning. Despite the heroic efforts of his medical team, Nate’s body was unable to recover from the injuries he sustained in his accident on Sunday night. We take comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer suffering, and that his spirit is with God. Thank you to the many doctors, nurses, specialists and staff that took such excellent care of Nate and of us through this difficult time, and thank you to the family and friends who have given so much of their love and support to us. Your outpouring of support for our family is a true testament to how wonderful a man Nate was.”

Friends have created an online fundraiser to help the family cover Walma’s medical expenses.

His funeral will be Friday.

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