Matthew Brenner
29 years old

Matt Brenner’s former girlfriend, Lily, says he was not the kind of person you’d expect to join the Air Force. “He was quirky and rebellious and had colorful tattoos,” she said. “He was definitely more Soho, New York.”

Matt grew up in Virginia, raised by a single mom. As an Air Force staff sergeant, he got to see places like England and South Korea, the way his grandfather did during his time in the service. After Matt’s honorable discharge, he moved to Washington D.C. and worked as a bike courier and underground music DJ. There, he met Lily. “He was loyal and thoughtful,” Lily said. “But not just with me – he was so in tune and connected to so many different types of people.”

The couple dated for 5 years, but then broke up. Matt moved to New York and began working in fashion. He was a production manager for Arsenal, a clothing company, and took night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

“For the first time, Matt had a five and ten year plan,” Lily said. “I had never seen him so energized and happy.”

This collision happened on July 6, 2014 near Brooklyn Queens Expressway and Sands Street in Brooklyn. See details in the Mean Streets Tracker.

Mean Streets 2014: Who We Lost, How They Lived

Throughout 2014, WNYC tracked the 265 men, women and children killed in traffic crashes in New York City. In addition to reporting the circumstances of their deaths, we looked at who they were in life: mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, recent immigrants and native New Yorkers. To read some of their stories, click on a photograph.