Man putting gas in van killed in hit-and-run crash on I-94

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CHARLESTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Relatives of a man struck and killed by a hit-and-run semi while he was putting gas in a friend’s van were urging the driver to call police.

The crash was reported at 2:45 a.m. Friday on eastbound Int. 94 near the Galesburg exit.

Kalamazoo County deputies identified the victim as Todd Hodgkinson, 49, of Battle Creek.

“Own up to what you did,” the victim’s brother, Thomas Hodgkinson, said. “You killed somebody. You killed my brother.”

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told 24 Hour News 8 a woman ran out of gas but was able to get her van off to the side of the road on the fog line. She called Hodgkinson to bring gas.

“That was just the kind of guy that Todd is,” his brother said. “He would do just about anything for anybody.”

As Hodgkinson was putting gas in the tank, the woman noticed a semi coming towards them, hugging the fog line.

The woman jumped out of the way, but the man was hit and killed, according to Matyas.

The impact threw Hodgkinson about 100 yards.  The semi sideswiped the van and kept going.

Deputies say the friend and her passenger were treated for shock.

Witnesses couldn’t give much of a description — just a semi with a dark cab and white trailer. Deputies say it should have damage on its passenger side, along with maroon paint from the van.

The victim’s brother said there’s no way the driver didn’t notice he’d hit something.

“Accidents happen, but I mean you don’t just run somebody over then go on driving down the road,” the brother said. “No, that don’t happen.”

“If you’re a professional truck driver, you ought to know what you’re doing and when you feel a jar like that, you ought to know something’s happened and you should at least pull over to find out what you did,” the brother said. “This character did not.”

Sheriff Richard Fuller said investigators are looking for surveillance video from nearby businesses. They’re also urging the driver to call them.

Eastbound I-94 was closed at 35th Street (Exit 85) around 3 a.m. Friday as a result of the fatal crash. It remained closed for more than two hours before reopening around 5:40 a.m., according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office at 269.383.8723.

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