Police: Bishop .12, drove erratically before fatal collision - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Police: Bishop .12, drove erratically before fatal collision

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Authorities say an evangelical lutheran bishop had a blood alcohol content of .128 after his SUV hit and killed a Sun Prairie jogger Sunday.

A criminal complaint filed against 59-year old Bruce Burnside also says Burnside denied having used alcohol or other drugs.

The complaint states a witness saw Burnside drive erratically on Highway-151, before Burnside exited the highway at the Windsor Street ramp, and then hit 52-year old Maureen Mengelt of Sun Prairie.

Burnside faces three felony charges, including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, and hit and run resulting in death. 

The complaint states Burnside's SUV hit the victim and road fixtures, and drove the wrong way on Windsor Street as it traveled away from the collision. As 27 News first reported Tuesday, several cars followed Burnside's SUV to a nearby gas station and prevented him from leaving before the arrival of police officers.

Authorities state Burnside was on his way to an event at a Sun Prairie lutheran church at the time of the collision. According to the criminal complaint, Burnside told officers he became distracted with adjusting his radio and checking his GPS before the collision.

During a Wednesday court appearance by Burnside, assistant Dane County district attorney Emily Thompson argued significant cash bail should be required for Burnside. She said his alleged hit-and-run indicates he has the potential to fail to appear for future court appearances.

Burnside's attorney, John Hyland cited the clergyman's long-standing position in the community as one of the reasons to instead allow him to go free on his signature. Hyland also said Burnside would enroll in a treatment program, if released from jail.

Dane County court commissioner Todd Meuer says this case is emotional for him, because he sees many parallels between the victim, her family, and her passion for running, and his family's circumstances.

Meuer says Burnside can leave jail Thursday on a signature bond, as he long as he enters the treatment facility, and the Dane County bail monitoring program, and abides by conditions that include no drinking, and no driving at any time.

If Burnside violates the terms of his bail, Meuer says his bail will be $150,000.  

 

 

 

 

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