A Wisconsin sergeant with the Superior Police Department has been charged with being drunk when he allegedly caused a crash that killed a 23-year-old man and a baby.
Gregory M. Swanson, 42, has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle for the Friday, July 15, crash that killed Michael Evans and his two-month-old son, Elijah.
Ojanen's family told KBJR that they had been out celebrating Evans' birthday when their car ran out of gas, with Evans getting out to push it when the crash happened on the 5200 block of E. 2nd Street in Superior.
Laura Ojanen, 24, Elijah's mother and Evans' partner, was also in the car at the time of the crash along with their other son, two-year-old Lucas.
Charges were filed on Monday against Swanson while Elijah was still being treated for his injuries at a hospital. His death was confirmed in a tragic update on a Go Fund Me page set up for Ojanen, meaning the charges against Swanson could be amended in the coming days.
According to the criminal complaint:
The crash happened at about 1:15 a.m. on Friday, July 15 in the 5200 block of E. 2nd Street. Douglas County Sheriff's deputies arrived to find the car occupied by Evans, Ojanen, and the two children.
Evans was pronounced dead at the scene. Elijah was taken to a hospital with a brain bleed, and died on Tuesday.
Swanson was found at a gas station just up the road from the crash site and was arrested. A deputy stated in the complaint that Swanson's eyes were "glossy and slightly bloodshot," noting a "strong odor of intoxicants coming from him." According to the complaint, the off-duty officer failed multiple sobriety tests. He also agreed to a blood draw, the results of which are pending as of Thursday.
Swanson told the deputy he had two beers and a mixed drink between midnight and 1:30 a.m. He claimed he didn't see the other vehicle until he ran into it, but pulled into the gas station and called 911.
A witness at the gas station told the sheriff's office that they saw Swanson throw out Bud Light Seltzer cans when he pulled into the gas station. Five cans of the seltzer were found in a nearby trash can, the complaint states.
The Superior Police Department has since placed Swanson on administrative leave. Swanson was also released from jail on $15,000 bond ahead of his July 26 court appearance.
The Wisconsin Attorney General's Office is prosecuting in the case.