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Woman widowed after crash, day before Mother's Day

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Posted at 8:36 PM, May 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 05:16:36-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After a crash, it was a difficult Mother's Day for one local family. The crash killed a young father and injured his wife and one of the two young kids.

The family says they were heading home after leaving a friend's house when they collided with another vehicle around 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

"Courtney's worried about everything. How she gonna explain to those babies, 'my daddy's not coming home?'" Brenda VandeByl told FOX 17.

Woman widowed after a car accident day before Mother's Day

A Greenville family is heartbroken after this car crash at Sparta Avenue and Ball Creek Road on Saturday.

Police say a green Jeep was heading north when a Ford Escape pulled in front of them.

Their car was hit almost full speed broadside on the driver's side.

In that Ford Escape was a family of four. 27-year-old Brandon Tatroe died at the scene, his wife Courtney was hurt, their two young kids, ages two years and just one month old, were also in the car, with the 2-year-old suffering minor injuries.

Both babies were in the backseat screaming and crying, and Courtney was screaming to help Brandon.

Charlie and Brenda VandeByl are Courtney's parents. They're at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital as the young mom, two-year-old Lincoln, and one-month-old Ayra recover.

"Brandon's got his angel wings, and he's looking down on us, but we need healing. We need peace," VandeByl said.

Brandon and Courtney had been building a life in Greenville.

Brenda says the two had been together for seven years and recently bought a home. They also welcomed home their month-old daughter, who came earlier than expected.

"God knew that she needed to be here a month early," VandeByl said.

Now, the family faces the hardships of explaining what happened to Brandon.

"Lincoln was his daddy sidekick. The two of them would just as soon as daddy came home at night. I mean, they would just play for hours. Lightsabers, lightsabers, and dinosaurs," Brenda and Charlie said.

And on Mother's Day stands a symbol of true strength. The parents say despite possibly needing surgery, Courtney got out of her hospital bed to check on her children.

"Lincoln's gonna have to be carried around because he's got a full, almost like a body cast. From the waist down on one leg and halfway down on the other. Plus, a fractured elbow," VandeByl said.

This family faces a long road ahead. Brenda and Charlie say they plan to be there for them.

"We're trying to take as much burden off from her as we can," VandeByl added.

They say the couple had insurance. However, they are not sure if Brandon had life insurance. The family has set up a GoFundMe page.

As for the two people in the other vehicle, they were hospitalized with serious injuries. The Kent County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate that crash.

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