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Wendy Reuer and Erik Burgess, Published August 10 2012

'My son was the coolest thing that ever happened to me,' says father of Moorhead student killed in crash

SABIN, Minn. – Tears were shed and laughs were shared at a Friday night candlelight vigil for a teen who died after the car he was in rolled here and caught fire Thursday evening.

Holding small white candles, hundreds of friends and family of Moorhead High School student Austin Wagar formed a large circle and shared stories of Wagar’s life after he died Friday following the earlier crash two miles west of here.

“We never thought that there was so many people that cared about our boy,” said Austin’s father, Heath Wagar. “My son was the coolest thing that ever happened to me.”

The vigil for Austin Wagar was held behind Trinity Lutheran Church in Sabin at around 10 p.m.

Person after person stepped forward into the circle to share a few words about the teen.

“Austin and I were best friends, and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him,” one female friend said.

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said the crash is still under investigation. He said he hasn’t heard anything major regarding the status of the other two involved in the crash.

“I’ve haven’t heard any serious things, so I think they’re fine,” he said Friday evening.

Earlier Friday, Moorhead Superintendent Lynn Kovash said students were planning a vigil for the boys, Brendan Daly, Kullen Carney and Austin Wagar, at Moorhead High School but did not contact administrators beforehand.

“We understand that students need and want a place to go in times like these, so we decided to open the fieldhouse,” Kovash said.

The School District did open the high school fieldhouse for an hour Friday night for students to host a candlelight vigil for the three boys, but Kovash said the majority of the vigil was moved to Sabin at the last minute.

Kovash said any event held was “student-led” and not officially endorsed by the district; pastors and counselors were not be at the event.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter were aflutter with comments regarding the accident.

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts from students, including Daly, identified the students involved in the crash. Though she has not received official word, Kovash said it was her understanding that the accident victims were Daly, Wagar and Carney.

Chief Deputy Matt Siiro said his office could not release the names because the accident is still under investigation. He cited a Minnesota statute that protects open investigations of crimes.

“We don’t know if we’re going to charge anybody or not yet,” Siiro said early Friday.

Siiro said he is hoping to release more information soon, because he was aware of the high amount of speculation regarding the boys’ conditions circulating on social media sites.

The crash was reported around 6:40 p.m. Thursday. The three boys were in a white Buick Century on 80th Avenue when it fish-tailed, went into the ditch and flipped. The car landed on its roof at 50th Street and started on fire.

Wagar is believed to have been taken by helicopter to Sanford Health in Fargo.

Daly and Carney were taken by ambulance to Essentia Health.

Kovash said counselors will be available on Monday at Moorhead High School for students to speak with.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518


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