GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A soldier from Grand Rapids is dead after a training exercise in Hawaii on Sunday. Officials say the truck he was in spun out of control, hit a guardrail and overturned into a culvert. Police have begun a negligent homicide investigation.
Sgt. Terrence Hinton had two deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait under his belt and was stationed in Hawaii in 2016.
Family and friends of Hinton say he was the nicest guy they'd ever met and he always put his family first. They say not only was he an excellent soldier, he was an even better friend and father.
"When you spend every single day with somebody, you tend to get to know them closer than you do your own family," said Army veteran Weldon Boyles.
Boyles spoke with FOX 17 by phone from his home in Corsicana, Texas. Boyles served in Afghanistan with Hinton in 2010.
"Terrence was a very wonderful soldier," said Boyles. "There's nobody in the whole entire unit that had one bad word to say about him, which is pretty rare because in the Army we tend to pick on each other. No one had anything bad to ever say about him."
Friends of Hinton say they were shocked when the heard the news about his passing.
"I felt completely saddened and excruciating heartbreak," said Boyles. "Of all of the people I've known in my life, he was just one of those people where there was never a cross word said about him by anyone and that is really rare nowadays."
Hinton was a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School and spent time working at Cascade Engineering before joining the Army. Hinton met Jillian, the mother of his child, at Cascade Engineering. He's leaving behind a 5-year-old daughter Cayleigh.
"We want to make sure that his story is portrayed as a loving father and wonderful soldier and an overall caring man whose legacy in life is not forgotten due to the tragedy and unfortunate event that happened," said Boyles.
Boyles says he and Hinton were in the same unit while in Afghanistan and called themselves Spartans and the spear tip of the Army.
"He was a true hero worth being recognized," said Boyles.
Family of Hinton say his body will be brought back to Grand Rapids on Monday, where there's going to be a memorial service for him open to the public. Details of the service have not yet been announced.