New Mom's Fiance, Mother Killed on Way to Hospital

They died when their car hit a tree in Michigan
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2015 7:42 AM CST
Crystal Matrau-Belt kisses her son Jeremiah James Matrau-Skokan on Monday.   (Mark Bugnaski / Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)
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(Newser) – Emil Skokan III was every bit the doting father-to-be when his fiancee texted him to say she would soon undergo a C-section. "He said, 'Do you need anything?' and that he would come up shortly and that he loved me," Crystal Matrau-Belt, 24, tells ABC News. "It was the last time I talked to him." As Skokan, 34, rushed to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Saturday with Matrau-Belt's mother, Peggy Nichols, he lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree, reports MLive. Both Skokan and Nichols, 53, were killed; police say speed was a factor. Other family members, including Matrau-Belt's stepmother, helped her welcome a baby boy, Jeremiah, before breaking the news. "To have a child but then have two things ripped out of my life, it's just really hard to deal with and even process," the new mom says. "It's like happy and the most heartbreaking thing."

Matrau-Belt says both her fiance and mom were so excited to meet Jeremiah. "Their main focus was being able to be here because I didn't want them to miss anything," she says. While Nichols "had big plans to take him to the zoo, to Disney World," Skokan had spent the previous day readying the couple's house for Jeremiah's arrival. He "was trying to do everything right," says Matrau-Belt. "He wanted to step up and make sure he was a good father to him." She now takes solace in seeing Skokan in Jeremiah. "I see Emil in him," particularly when "he gives this wrinkled up nose look" when he's annoyed. "Just to know that I have a piece of Emil, that helps a little bit." Matrau-Belt says she doesn't "really know what to do with myself," but she wants to tell others to appreciate what they have. "You've got to be able to slow down and look at every part of life and cherish it." (Two brothers had babies on the same day, at the same hospital.)

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