Duluth teen injured in drunken driving crash a year ago removed from life supportEverett Bergren, the Duluth boy who was critically injured in a Jan. 19, 2012, traffic accident that took his grandmother’s life, was taken off life support on Saturday afternoon, family members said.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Everett Bergren, the Duluth boy who was critically injured in a Jan. 19, 2012, traffic accident that took his grandmother’s life, has died. He was 14.
Everett was taken off life support on Saturday afternoon, family members said; had been on life support since Thursday evening. He had never recovered consciousness after surgery that day to reinsert a skull plate protecting his brain, said his aunt, Shelley Nicholson, who flew to Duluth from Texas on Thursday.
Everett had been kept on life support so his organs could be donated, his aunt said. That surgery began at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and Everett’s organs were to be donated to four people.
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized, but the service is expected to take place on Saturday so that schoolchildren can attend, Nicholson said. Tentative plans also are being made to place a memorial bench in Everett Bergren’s honor near the duck pond at Forest Hill Cemetery.
The accident that ultimately took his life occurred in the 2900 block of Woodland Avenue as his grandmother, Paula Bergren, was driving him to school. Police said a pickup truck driven by Hawk Patrick Edwards of Williston, N.D., crossed the center line and struck the Bergren vehicle.
Paula Bergren died from her injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital. Everett Bergren initially was placed on life support at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center with a traumatic brain injury. But he had been making a strong recovery in recent months and had been attending school two days a week. Nicholson said he had undergone seven operations before Thursday, including an earlier operation in which the infected skull plate had been removed.
Edwards, who was found to have a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit at the time of the accident, pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 to criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm and was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.
A posting added to Everett Bergren’s Caring Bridge website on Saturday said, “Tonight, when you look up at the stars, the brightest of them will be our Everett.”
The posting asked readers to pray for the four recipients of his organs, and closed with a request:
“Please honor the memories of Everett, and also his Grandmother Paula, by always being responsible behind the wheel,” it said. “Do not drink and drive. Do not drive impaired. Do not forget our family's tragedy.”