Wisconsin bishop could be charged after fatal crash

  • Associated Press
  • April 9, 2013 - 1:10 PM

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - A Lutheran bishop who's accused of striking and killing a runner while driving drunk over the weekend could face formal charges as soon as Tuesday.

The 59-year-old bishop, who was arrested Sunday, remained in custody Tuesday on a tentative charge of homicide by intoxicated driving. The Dane County district attorney's office said the case was still being reviewed. Online court records didn't immediately reflect a pending hearing or initial appearance, but the records are sometimes updated only after the hearing.

The suspect, a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is accused of striking 52-year-old Maureen Mengelt as she was out for a run Sunday. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Mengelt was a former teacher and City of Madison police officer who became a full-time mother after the birth of a daughter almost 20 years ago. She had two daughters and a son.

"She said her career could wait until the kids were out of the house," her husband, Kevin Mengelt, said.

An official at the suspect's synod, which is not being identified to avoid identifying the suspect before charges are filed, asks that the current focus be on the victim, not the bishop.

Maureen Mengelt worked as a Madison police officer in the late 1980s and as an investigator with the state public defender's office. Later she moved to Wood County where she taught social studies at a middle school and continued her pursuit of long-distance running that she began in college, Kevin Mengelt said.

She was training for a 20-mile race in Stoughton next month when she was killed.

Students at Sun Prairie High School, where one of her children goes, wore red in her memory Monday.

"Maureen felt like a mother to all children that she came into contact with," Kevin Mengelt said. "Thank you to everyone who allowed her this guilty pleasure."

Her husband also had a special request of those who plan to attend the visitation Friday afternoon in Sun Prairie.

"To honor her love of running, we ask people to wear running shoes at the visitation," he said.

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