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Judge throws out former bishop's field sobriety tests

Published On: Apr 18 2014 11:45:51 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 21 2014 08:45:02 AM CDT

Channel3000.com

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

MADISON, Wis. -

A judge has ruled that field sobriety tests conducted on a former Lutheran bishop accused of driving drunk and killing a woman with his car are inadmissible.

Dane County Judge Nicholas McNamara ruled Friday field sobriety tests given to Bruce Burnside should be thrown out because of a lack of reasonable suspicion. He said the results of blood tests are admissible under implied consent.

The 60-year-old is facing multiple felonies in the April 2013 crash that killed Maureen Mengelt, 52, of Sun Prairie on the northbound off-ramp of Highway 151 near Windsor Street in Sun Prairie. Police said they located Burnside with his heavily damaged vehicle at a Kelley's Mobil gas station a block away from the scene of the crash.

Burnside is charged with homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle, homicide by use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration, hit-and-run, hit-and-run involving death and homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle.

Mengelt's husband, Kevin Mengelt, told News 3 the proceedings are difficult.

"I have to come up with a way to explain this to my three children," he said. "I understand there are legal challenges, but there are also moral correctness and being standup and he's chosen not to do so. I hope someday he does show some remorse for his actions."

A criminal complaint said Burnside's preliminary breath test results were .128 percent.

A trial is scheduled to begin May 12.

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