Trufant man identified after fatal accident on M-66

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 6:31 pm on Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Thomas Burger

SIDNEY TOWNSHIP — A Trufant man has been identified as the victim of a fatal accident last week at M-66 and Sidney Road.

Thomas Burger Sr., 59, of Maple Valley Township, was killed in the two-vehicle accident which occurred at 10:36 a.m. April 26.

According to Trooper Pat Agema with the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, Burger was driving a Ford Fusion southbound on M-66 in the left-hand turn lane attempting to turn eastbound onto Sidney Road. A 36-year-old woman driving a GMC Terrain northbound on M-66.

At the time, several vehicles were at the intersection attempting to turn onto M-66 and one vehicle was in the northbound lane attempting to turn onto Sidney Road westbound.

“According to witnesses and the evidence at the scene, it appears Mr. Burger failed to see the northbound vehicle and turned into her (the 36-year-old woman’s) lane of travel,” Agema said. “Mr. Burger’s vehicle was struck in the passenger side door by the northbound vehicle.”

Burger was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 36-year-old woman was transported to Sheridan Community Hospital, where she was treated for multiple contusions and lacerations prior to being released.

The accident remains under investigation, but alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors.

According to Burger’s obituary, “Tom had just stated two weeks ago that he was the happiest he had ever been in his life and was truly living his life to the fullest.”

Burger was known for spending time with his children and grandchildren, watching movies, listening to music, taking his family on pontoon boat rides, golfing with his sons, fishing and hunting. He was a U.S. Navy veteran.

“He positively touched so many lives and had the biggest heart,” his obituary stated. “His easygoing demeanor, contagious laughter, kind words, sense of humor and great advice were so cherished … he was truly our hero, role model, best friend, mentor and therapist. Everything he taught us about love, forgiveness, acceptance and letting Christ into our lives will forever aid and comfort us.”

Burger is survived by two daughters, Colleen Fuelling and Amy Balk, two sons, Thomas Burger Jr. and Andrew Burger, the mother of his children, Maria Burger, two grandchildren, Blake and Kennedy, his girlfriend, Sofia Pabayo, his dog Scout, and many other relatives.

Ofield Funeral Home in Grand Rapids is in charge of arrangements.

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