Drunken driving tragedy worsens


Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — The suicide of a man accused in the drunken driving deaths of an elderly couple has only brought further tragedy to the case, relatives of the crash victims said Friday.

Steven Vaughn Duncan, 41, died Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office reported.

Duncan had been scheduled to go on trial Nov. 17 in the deaths of Elmer Kvinsland, 78, and his wife, Joyce, 72. The Edmonds couple’s car was struck June 17 by a pickup that had run a red light.

The couple’s deaths had a wide impact on their family and friends.

In September, a grandson, Joe Frothingham, dealt with his grief by organizing a fund-raising concert for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Friday, the children of the Kvinslands refused to gloat, saying instead that they felt sorry for the family of Duncan.

"There is no love lost between us and that man, but we feel sorry for his family. We know what they are going through," said Diane Harrison, a Kvinsland daughter.

Another daughter, Kathy Davis, said the family was "stunned" by Duncan’s death.

"His actions with drunken driving hurt our family horribly, and now his actions have hurt his family," Davis said.

The only good outcome is that the Kvinslands will not have to endure a trial, Davis said. She said she wasn’t sure the family would be able to withstand witness accounts of the accident and of her own parents’ suffering.

"My own regret is that he never had to face any of us. He never had to say he was sorry. That would have been a very decent thing to do," Davis said.

Duncan had planned to change his plea to guilty and could have been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, said Deputy Prosecutor Kathleen Patterson.

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