Man killed in crash ‘real sweet guy’

Norman Vaughn. (Undated courtesy photo)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Friends of the 77-year-old who was killed in a crash in Wyoming say the community has lost a great man.

Norman Vaughn was killed Wednesday after he was struck by a pickup truck as he tried to cross 44th Street near Burlingame Avenue SW in his motorized wheelchair. He was not using the crosswalk. He was dragged a short distance by the truck and pronounced dead at the scene.

“I ran down there in my flip-flops as fast as I could with my asthma,” Kimberly Heeringa said. “I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t him and I knew when I got there that it was him.”

Heeringa works at GS Fireworks, which is only a few blocks from where the crash happened. Vaughn had become a fixture there.

“He knew he was always welcome here,” Heeringa said.

Vaughn first met David Jewell of GS Fireworks last August as he was renovating the old storefront of what is now GS Fireworks. Vaughn came rolling up in his wheelchair.

“Me and Norm instantly pretty much became good friends,” Jewell said.

Vaughn would spend hours in the store, passing time, chatting and helping out.

“Norm would visit me every day, keeping me company every day,” said Jewell said. “He would come in here and help me stack shelves.”

Vaughn would talk about his late wife and how much he missed her.

“He loved his wife, loved his family,” Heeringa said. “He was always bragging about his grandkids.”

They were like family, store workers said.

Ken Rowley, who was shopping at the fireworks store Thursday, said he also considered Vaughn family.

“Almost like a second grandpa to my kids,” Rowley said. “My son would go over on a regular basis and just have half-hour or one-hour conversations with him all the time. ”

Vaughn leaves behind five children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His family said Thursday he was the life of the party, recalling him as a devoted Detroit Tigers and NASCAR fan.

“Real sweet guy,” Rowley said. “He will be dearly missed for sure.”

Authorities are expected to say next week whether they will file any criminal charges in the crash.

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