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Bishop charged with killing pedestrian released

Published On: Apr 10 2013 01:55:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2013 12:36:53 PM CDT

Channel3000.com

Bruce Burnside, 59, appeared in court April 9 on charges including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

MADISON, Wis. -

A Lutheran bishop who police say was intoxicated when he struck and killed a Sun Prairie woman with his vehicle Sunday has been released and has entered treatment.

Police said Bruce Burnside, 59, hit Maureen Mengelt, 52, with his vehicle on the northbound off-ramp of Hwy. 151 near Windsor Street, just before 3 p.m.

A Dane County judge Wednesday ordered Burnside held on $150,000 cash bail for three of the four charges against him.  However, the judge allowed him to leave on a signature bond on Thursday, if he agreed to admit himself in to an alcohol treatment facility.

The Dane County Jail said Thursday Burnside has been released from custody.  A statement from the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin said Burnside entered an inpatient treatment facility

Burnside is charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, hit-and-run resulting in death, homicide by negligent use of a vehicle and hit-and-run of an attended vehicle.

Emergency crews took Mengelt to St. Mary's Hospital in Sun Prairie, where she later died. The criminal complaint states Mengelt suffered multiple rib fractures and a broken pelvis.

Back at the scene of the accident, Burnside left a trail of debris -- including a downed traffic light -- while trying to get away from the crash, according to police.

Police found Burnside in his heavily-damaged Honda at a gas station about a block away from the scene of the accident. Burnside denied using drugs or alcohol to an officer at the scene, according to the complaint. The complaint states Burnside took a breath test showing a blood alcohol level of 0.128.

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A video taken at a restaurant near the crash scene shows a vehicle speeding down the off-ramp, the collision and the vehicle leaving the scene, according to the complaint.

Burnside is a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He oversees 145 congregations in a 13-county area.

Burnside's assistant, Rev. Blake Rohrer, confirmed Wednesday Burnside remains the elected bishop of the synod.

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