Michael VanWagner, like many stupid drivers, made the reckless decision to drive himself home, falling over drunk and reeking of alcohol. And like many the foolhardy sots, VanWagner killed someone. The drunk 24-year-old ran into not one vehicle, but fled the scene and slammed into another car, killing a 16-year-old teen.
However, unlike most drinking drivers, the sobered up VanWagner decided to post pics of his smashed up car onto his Facebook page and make light of the collisions, which he walked away from with only a few scratches.
The Coon Rapids, Minn. resident was driving along a highway in suburban Minneapolis on July 22, when he rammed into a parked car, drove off, and then minutes later smashed into a car driven by teenager Jason McCarthy. The back-to-back crashes happened in the middle of the afternoon along Hwy. 252 in Brooklyn Park.
Writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune on July 31: McCarthy, a “16-year-old Brooklyn Center boy, clung to life for days before dying after a suspected drunken driver, without a valid license, fled one crash on a north-metro highway and ran into the teen’s car down the road moments later.”
VanWagner posted what media reports are calling a “gutless” message along with the photo of his totaled grey sedan.
“That's her front end after I got done with her lol [with a smiley face]” Michael VanWagner wrote Saturday to his Facebook page, four days after the incident. He also wrote: “I'm all good slept a day in the hospital then came home and did yard work lol.” The Facebook page has since been taken down.
However, VanWagner claims he was so wasted that he never knew he actually hit someone inside of a car, only acknowledging that he “hit something.” He says he never would have posted the photos or messages had he known he actually injured or killed someone.
“Police came and arrested me [Wednesday] morning and let me out because the charges won’t be coming for months,” he said. “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.”
That comes as little solace to the McCarthy family, who lost their own son to VanWagner’s stupidity. McCarthy's family is left grieving their loss.
“Nothing will be the same without him,” McCarthy's family said in a statement. “He always made everything better. We love him so much and will miss him every moment.”
The Star Tribune reported that VanWagner has a history of severe driving infractions. Writes the Tribune:
State records show that VanWagner was driving on a revoked license, according to a Department of Public Safety official. His driving record is littered with violations, including careless driving and twice driving after having his license suspended. VanWagner said his license was revoked for driving without insurance.
VanWagner is on probation for a felony conviction in April for terroristic threats. Along with abstaining from alcohol and illicit drugs, the conditions of his sentence include that he remain law-abiding.