A year ago, Duluth Teen, Everett Bergren was critically injured in a traffic accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury and his grandmother dead. Now the boy has died after complications from surgery led his family to take him off life support after donating his organs.
In just a matter of months after the January 2012 car accident, Everett Bergren was making great strides. He had even improved enough to eventually go to school part-time. However, a surgery to replace his skull plate led to his sudden deterioration. The plate had to be removed because of an infection that had developed.
At first, the surgery seemed to go well, but the complications came about later. It was a CT scan that would reveal swelling on his brain and in 24 hours there would be no brain activity. It was then decided by the family to keep him on life support until his organs could be donated. On January 5, 2013, it would be announced that Everett Bergren had died.
The operation to replace the skull plate was the eighth surgery that Bergren had had since the January 19, 2012 accident that occurred on Woodland Avenue. At the time of the accident, his grandmother, Paula Bergren was taking the 13-year-old to school. According to the police report, a pickup truck driven by 19-year-old Hawk Patrick Edwards crossed left of center and struck Paula Bergren’s vehicle.
Paula Bergren died of her injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Everett Bergren would be placed on life support as a result of his traumatic brain injury, but he did have a gradual recovery. By March, he would speak a few words, feed himself, and operate a wheelchair.
A lot more progress had been made by the time Everett turned 14 in December. He was able to walk, attending school part-time, and was looking forward to the skull plate replacement that would mean he didn’t have to wear a helmet anymore.
At the time of the accident, Everett lived with his mom and two sisters, but he stayed with his grandmother the night before the accident because he wanted to shovel snow for her in the morning. He loved being outdoors and he loved his friends and family.
After the accident, Edwards was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .11%. Minnesota’s legal limit is .08. He would plead guilty on February 16, 2012 to criminal vehicular homicide and to criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison, which is a longer sentence than the sentencing guidelines call for.
The public defender who defended Edwards in the case stated that the Edwards family was aware of Everett’s deteriorating condition and gave their condolences. The case against Edwards is not able to be reopened because it would be considered double jeopardy.