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Wife of man killed by drunk driver says she hopes teen 'understands she has devastated this family'

Posted at 7:51 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 19:51:06-05

A 19-year-old woman from Macomb Township faces felony charges after she allegedly drove while intoxicated and caused a head-on collision that killed an 81-year-old man.

“You don’t expect this," said Helga Schwallbach, wife of the man killed. "He just left. He just walked out the door and he’s not coming back. That’s the hard part."

Hans and Helga Schwallbach were married for 46 years. Hans was a retired engineer for Ford Motor Company, a father to two sons and a grandfather. He was also incredibly healthy 81 years old, and had upcoming plans to road trip to Florida and New York with his wife.

On Thursday night he was at his weekly table tennis game at the German Center in Macomb.

“He played table tennis, not ping pong," Helga said. "It was a workout ... serious stuff."

Hans had been playing there every Thursday for decades. in fact, it’s how he and Helga met – playing table tennis nearly 50 years ago.

Last Thursday, while on his way home driving south on Utica Road, police say 19-year-old Morgan Coley was driving north. Police say Coley was intoxicated behind the wheel and crossed over into the southbound lane, hitting Hans head on.

Hans was seriously injured and did not survive. Helga doesn’t know what life looks like without him.

To anyone thinking about driving after drinking: “It was an awful decision to make," she said. "There are so many other ways of getting home. My son calls an Uber.”

Helga added, “I hope she understands she has devastated this family.”

On Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, Clinton Township police had obtained a warrant from Macomb County Prosecutor for Coley, who is a Macomb Township resident. At that time she was charged with operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, which is a five-year felony. Coley was released on bond Friday.

On Monday, the Macomb County Prosecutor upgraded that warrant to operating white intoxicated causing death, which is a 15 year felony.