Joshua Hoppe, 30, of Zeeland died after his car was trapped under a semi truck south of I-196. He was on his way to an early-morning staff meeting.
Hoppe was a government teacher and a big part of the community, said David Tebo, the school’s superintendent during a news conference on Wednesday. He thought of teaching as more of a passion than a job and treated every child individually. He believed in them and their opportunity to grow, said Tebo.
Hoppe took teaching government as a special responsibility. He viewed it as a chance to teach the students how to take care of their country. Teaching was what he lived for - from in the classroom to out on the fields where he coached freshman baseball and junior-varsity football.
For other staff members and students, Tebo said that instead of a regular school day, Wednesday was more of a day filled with everyone being there for each other.
On the way to the meeting Wednesday morning, staff members said they saw the crash and then realized Hoppe wasn’t there. That’s when Doug Braschler, the high school principal drove to the scene.
Hoppe was going into his sixth year with the district. He leaves behind his wife, parents, a brother and a sister.
The crash that killed Hoppe happened around 6:19 a.m. in front of Tulip City Truck Stop on the southern edge of Holland in Allegan County. The tractor-trailer, driven by David St. John, 54, of Welston, Mich. was pulling out of the restaurant parking lot onto northbound M-40. Hoppe apparently tried to stop but couldn’t. St. John was not hurt.
This crash is similar to a 2007 one that killed three people, including two children.
In that accident, 38-year-old Curt Boeve was behind the wheel of a van which killed him and two of his children Zachary Boeve, 13, and Emma Boeve, 4. Two of Boeve’s other sons in the car were also hurt.
Those tragic deaths also shook up the Hamilton School District, where 13-year-old Zachary was a sixth grade student.