Drunk Driving Lutheran Bishop Kills Mother of Three
Bruce Burnside, Bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and overseer of 145 congregations, has been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor offense after allegedly driving drunk and hitting a mother of three while she was jogging in Sun Prairie.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Burnside ran over the median on the Highway 151 off-ramp, hit a lamp post, struck Mengelt, and hit a vehicle before being stopped by witnesses at a market and gas station on Davidson Drive.
Burnside allegedly told police that at the time of the crash he was adjusting his radio and GPS unit, and that he was running late for church. Though Burnside originally denied being drunk, his preliminary breath test was 0.128.
According to witnesses, Burnside was driving erratically prior to striking Mengelt, and did not hit the brakes following the crash. Burnside was formally charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, hit and run resulting in death, and misdemeanor hit and run. The Dane County Circuit Court set bail at $150,000. Bail reverted to a signature bond with no cash down as Burnside entered an in-patient alcohol treatment program, HTRNews.com reported.
Burnside’s SUV heavily damaged in Drunk Driving CrashAccording to the criminal complaint, the Bishop’s SUV was heavily damaged in the crash, with “heavy front-end damage,” a partially collapsed roof, missing front bumper and its back window was smashed out.
Assistant Dane County District Attorney Emily Thompson said in court that an oil trail shows Burnside pulled behind the gas station, backed up, drove over the curb, and then pulled to the gas station parking lot where witnesses stopped and held Burnside until police arrived, the State Journal reports.