Mike VanWagner allegedly kills teen in drunken wreck, posts pic of totaled car with smiley face
Mike VanWagner and his son.
Around 3 p.m. on July 24, Coon Rapids resident Mike VanWagner was allegedly involved in two accidents in quick succession along Highway 252 in Brooklyn Park.
First, he sideswiped a vehicle. But that didn't stop him, and tragically, the second incident would be much more serious.
According to the State Patrol, at 252 and 73rd Avenue, VanWagner, driving a Pontiac Grand Am, struck a Buick LeSabre driven by 16-year-old Jason McCarthy.
McCarthy suffered a severe brain injury. In a July 26 post on his CaringBridge page, Tara McCarthy wrote, "After the tests were read yesterday we found out that the injuries to Jason during the impact of the accident were too much for him to survive. Jason is currently on life support so family can get here and say goodbye."
"He is so very special," she continued. "We love him so much, our wonderful Jason."
State Patrol spokesman Jesse Grabow tells us VanWagner, 24, smelled of booze when officers arrived at the scene of the wreck. He was seriously injured and transported to the hospital, where his blood was drawn. Grabow said VanWagner hasn't yet been charged as authorities await the results of the blood test, which could take up to a month.
But the same day the McCarthy family was grieving Jason, here's what VanWagner was posting on Facebook:
When his friends asked him what happened in the comments to another post, here's how VanWagner replied:
Those posts have since been deleted. Here's more of what VanWagner was posting shortly after the accident:
Not only that, but in recent days, VanWagner has been sharing photos that are extremely questionable in light of his alleged drunk driving and its tragic outcome.
(To see them, click to page two.)
The Star Tribune interviewed VanWagner yesterday. He denied knowing the wreck resulted in McCarthy's death until yesterday, though that's somewhat hard to believe in light of the fact his Facebook friends posted links to news reports about the incident (including news about McCarthy's grave condition) on his page.
"I didn't even know I hit somebody. I just thought I hit something," VanWagner told the Strib, echoing Amy Senser.
"Police came and arrested me [Wednesday] morning and let me out because the charges won't be coming for months," he continued. "I know I'm looking at spending time in prison, so I'm trying to spend as much time as I can with my 18-month-old."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.