Drunken Driver Who Killed 2 In Duluth In 2012 Charged With DWI — Again; Victims’ Family Speaks Out
DULUTH, Minn. – A Duluth family is outraged after learning the man who killed their teenage son and his grandmother in a drunken-driving crash in 2012 has been charged for driving while impaired — again.
The suspect, 27-year-old Hawk Edwards of Superior posted $75,000 bail Tuesday after police say he was driving 55 mph in a 30 mph zone near the Mesaba Avenue exit in Duluth around 1:30 a.m. Sunday with a blood-alcohol level well over the legal limit (0.13 at the police station). The new arrest is not sitting well with the family of the two lives he took eight years ago.
“It’s like it didn’t matter. He killed two people and it didn’t matter to him. I’m going to go drink and drive again, it’s no big deal. Ya know, it’s hard,” said Trista Swanson, the mother of victim Everett Bergren.
Everett was 13 years old at the time of the crash. He fought through a severe brain injury for a
year before dying at 14 years old from complications. His grandmother, Paula Bergren, 65, who was driving the car Everett was riding in that morning, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the crash that involved Edwards crossing the center line on Woodland Avenue with his pick-up truck before slamming head-on with her vehicle.
“It killed my soul for a long time, and I’m trying really hard to do positive things and to bring myself out of depression, but it’s hard,” Trista told FOX 21’s Dan Hanger Tuesday.
Edwards, 19 years old at the time of the crash in 2012, was convicted of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation (0.11 blood-alcohol level) and was sent to prison for 8 years. He got out in 2017 and finished his probation in 2018 — only to be charged again Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 for DWI at the age of 27.
“Why would someone who killed two people still do something so preventable,” Trista asked. “I can’t comprehend that one yet and I don’t think I ever will.”
Trista and Everett’s aunt, Jo Wilson, say they were willing to forgive Edwards for his mistake the first time but no longer have sympathy for him, especially when the Jan. 5 DWI arrest happened on the same day Everett took his last breaths seven years ago.
“It’s selfish, it’s so selfish to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking and don’t think, oh, I could kill someone. You are driving a bullet regardless,” Trista said. “He’s so lucky he didn’t hurt someone again. What if he would have hurt someone again? He should not be out on the streets – period.”
“It’s a big huge slap in the face, and I don’t know any other words to even put it,” Wilson said.
And while the pain of Everett’s death is surfacing again beyond words for his family, Everett’s mom is trying to remain strong, remembering the strong boy he was — even through the toughest last days of his life.
“He was such a bright boy. You could take that kid anywhere,” Trista said. “He was an outdoorsman, such a spiritual person, an old soul as they would call him.”
The two first-degree DWI charges each come with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.
Edwards is back in court Feb. 4.