Mother of 5 pushing van hit by truck, killed

LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — A mother of five was killed Saturday night as she pushed a van that had run out of gas along the road.

The crash happened around 10:15 p.m. on the overpass of I-96 and Alden Nash Avenue, near Lowell. Two women were pushing a Honda Odyssey northbound on Alden Nash after it ran out of gas, according to Michigan State Police. The van was then rear-ended by a Chevrolet pickup truck.

One of the women, 36-year-old Tonya Beha of Lake Odessa, was hit by the truck. Aero Med was called, but Beha was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tonya Beha. (Undated courtesy photo)

Tonya Beha. (Undated courtesy photo)

Duane Johnson, 53, of Lansing was steering and there were a total of seven people in the van, including three of Beha’s children. Passengers sustained broken bones, abrasions and bruises.

Police said the driver of the truck, 48-year-old Jay Hobbs, fled on foot and was later captured in woods south of the crash site.

“If he wouldn’t have been on the road, none of this would have happened,” Beha’s mother Gleena Green told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday.

Alcohol was a factor in the crash, authorities say. Hobbs is being held at the Kent County Jail on charges of operating while intoxicated causing death and leaving the scene of a deadly crash.

Jay Hobbs. (Feb. 16, 2014)

Jay Hobbs. (Feb. 16, 2014)

“I hope it tortures him. I really do. Taking a mother away from five children,” Green said. “This is very hard for all of us we had to tell each one of her kids that she had passed away.”

Green said the van was pushed  five car lengths from where her daughter’s body lay.

Green said the family was returning home from visiting her in Muskegon. She said she learned of her daughter’s death over the phone.

“I just let go — screamed and cried,” she said.

Hobbs has a history of driving drunk: In November 2010, he was charged with misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and operating with a a high BAC, Michigan State Police records show, and eventually pleaded guilty to the OWI charge. And he was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving in January 2012.

Green said she plans to be at all of Hobbs’ court appearances.

“I have no sympathy for him at all. What are her five kids going to do?” Green wondered. “And her husband?”

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