Grand Forks man accused of fatally striking pedestrian pleads not guilty

Tyson Sewell

A Grand Forks man pleaded “not guilty” Wednesday to accusations he fatally hit a pedestrian with his car in April.

Tyson Sabazz Sewell, 40, is accused of hitting a pedestrian with his car and fleeing.

David R. Hagen, 65, was walking outside of the crosswalk on the 4300 block of Gateway Drive when he was struck by a 1996 Honda Accord just after 10 p.m. April 8, police said.

Hagen was in the road and had a head injury when police arrived, a press release said. First responders tried unsuccessfully to revive him with CPR, according to an affidavit.

Hagen’s obituary said he took great pride in his job at the Grand Forks Ramada Inn, where he worked in the kitchen for 40 years. He loved spending holidays with his family, playing bingo with his brothers, visiting the casino and he enjoyed music, dancing and martial arts.


Sewell called 911 about 17 minutes after the crash to turn himself in, a court document said. He was located outside a home less than a mile away from the scene.

Sewell had a suspended driver’s license and admitted to police that he struck someone on Gateway Drive, according to the affidavit.

He’s facing charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving while license was revoked. He faces up to 10 years in prison, if he’s convicted of the felony.

Another pedestrian was fatally struck the day before Hagen. Christina Lynn Melvin, 39, was hit and killed while walking near the DeMers Avenue and Interstate 29 intersection early April 7. The driver fled the scene, and police are still searching for a suspect.

Tess covers crime and courts for the Grand Forks Herald. She previously worked for the Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World-Herald and The Voice News. Reach her at (701) 780-1267, or on Twitter @ByTessWilliams.
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