Dozens gather to remember life lost after Marathon Co. crash - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dozens gather to remember life lost after Marathon Co. crash

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SCHOFIELD (WAOW) -- The site of tragedy has now turned into a place for remembering.

Friends and family of 27-year-old Matthew Chaignot of Rothschild gathered in Schofield Wednesday. Everest Metro Police say Chaignot died when his SUV crashed into the Eau Claire River early Tuesday morning.

“He meant a lot to a lot of people,” said Chaignot's fiance, Stacey Kyle. "Everybody is hurt so bad by this tragic accident that happened here."

That's why those closest to him set up a memorial. They laid a cross, and threw roses into the river. Family members say the best way to cope with the loss is to remember his life.

"Matt was always the life of the party,” said Chaignot's cousin, Kirsten Chaignot.

“He was a good guy. He was always there for you,” said friend Sean Karpinski.

Chaignot leaves behind two daughters.

“He loves his little girls more than anything in the world,” said Kirsten Chaignot.

Family members say the memorial is not only for them, but for him as well.

“It's so he knows his kids and family are safe and are thinking about him," said Kyle.

Chaignot's car was found by a bicyclist early Tuesday morning. The man told police he saw the car in the water and ran to call 911. It took the Marathon County Dive Team hours to pull the Lincoln Navigator out of the river. Police say Chaignot likely drowned. But, they're waiting on toxicology reports, hoping to get more answers.

For family and friends, they have the memories and now a place to never forget.

“Anyone that drives by can remember him and have a place to talk to if they want to talk to him," said Kyle.

Police say toxicology reports will take weeks to get back.

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