Injured paramedic: ‘It could’ve gone a lot worse’

Tim Hoffman speaks ahead of drunk driving suspect's sentencing

Tim Hoffman, his wife Kristen Hoffman and their daughter Anna in July 2017..


ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of driving drunk, seriously injuring a paramedic in a crash is going to prison.

A judge Friday afternoon sentenced Jeremy King to 2-5 years behind bars, with a credit for 33 days already served.

King pleaded no contest to operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing incapacitation in connection to the Aug. 7, 2016 crash that injured Tim Hoffman and fellow American Medical Response EMT Kevin Jongekryg.

Hoffman was hospitalized for months following the crash along Blue Star Highway in Allegan County

In a one-on-one with 24 Hour News 8, Hoffman and his family said that the wheels of recovery are turning, but he’s still running into a few bumps along the road.

‘There’s a lot of challenges physically’

Tim Hoffman spent the last 11 months adjusting to a number of changes and challenges. The married father told 24 Hour News 8 that he has lost a good amount of his vision, especially in his left eye. He also found it difficult to talk again.

“These are new,” Hoffman said as he removed his glasses. “I never used to wear glasses in my life.”

However, his family said that each day presents a little more progress.

“For him to learn how to walk and talk and eat all over again, he made this progress,” his father John Hoffman said.

John Hoffman is a longtime paramedic and remembers the phone call he received the morning of the crash. He and his wife were camping.

ambulance crash fillmore twp.
Emergency crews respond to crash involving an ambulance south of Holland. (Courtesy Timothy Ash/Aug. 7, 2016)

“We were 100 miles away when we got the phone call,” John Hoffman recalled emotionally, “So, I had that very long drive back.”

Tim Hoffman suffered several injuries in the crash, including a serious brain injury. He said that he doesn’t remember anything from the chaotic night that forever changed his life.

“No, I don’t. The whole night is just kind of a blur,” he said. “I don’t remember it at all.”

The memories aren’t there, but Tim Hoffman’s injuries and ambulance damage tell the story of how serious the crash was.

“It was terrifying too, to walk into that intensive care and see how injured Tim was,” his wife Kristen said. “It was very, very hard.”

Tim Hoffman was in a coma for nearly four weeks. His family spent late nights in the hospital praying for improvement. The progress was slow-coming, the Hoffman family said.

His dad remembers one day when things started to improve. He returned to the hospital where his wife and his son’s wife had been all night, and Tim Hoffman was able to do move around a little more.

Tim Hoffman in hospital after sustaining injuries in a crash on Aug. 7, 2016.

“I got a photograph of them helping Tim sit up on the edge of the bed,” John Hoffman said. “The joy of seeing that — it was great,” he continued with tears in his eyes.

From there, he continued to get stronger.

There’s much more smiles at the Hoffman house today.

The family is still floored by all of the community support that followed in the days and months following the crash. The Hoffman family believes that played a critical part in his healing.

“It could’ve gone a lot worse. [It] could’ve been better, but here we are,” Tim Hoffman said.

Jeremy King’s mug shot.

He didn’t have much to say about Jeremy King, but he said it’s frustrating to know the crash possibly could have been avoided if he was not driving intoxicated.

Jeremy King’s driving record includes a suspended license that was renewed six months before the crash. He also received multiple speeding tickets.