Michigan woman gives birth, not knowing fiance and mother killed in wreck rushing to hospital

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A woman gave birth to a boy in southwestern Michigan, not knowing that her fiance and her mother had died in a car crash while rushing to the hospital for the delivery.

Speed "appears to be a significant factor" in the weekend crash that killed Emil Skokan, 34, and Peggy Nichols, 53, Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas said.

Crystal Matrau-Belt gave birth to Jeremiah by cesarean section Saturday at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Due to high blood pressure, she was admitted Friday and her doctor decided to induce labor.

Skokan sent a text message, asking Matrau-Belt whether she needed anything.

He "just said, 'I'll meet you up there,' and that he loved me," Matrau-Belt told the Kalamazoo Gazette.

It was their last contact. A car driven by Skokan crashed into a tree in Comstock Township, near Kalamazoo.

"I want to celebrate (Jeremiah) being born, but losing my fiance, who I loved so much, and my mom at the same time, it's a really big struggle to try to balance all of that. ... To lose them both at a time like this, it's really hard," Matrau-Belt said.

She predicts Jeremiah will have his father's curly hair.

"It's hard, but just to know that I have a piece of Emil - that helps a little bit," Matrau-Belt said.