THE DETRITUS OF 2016 DEPARTS
Mark Mogan was running for Hebron Village President just across the border in Illinois. He came out of the Lake in the Hills police department, and enjoyed a good reputation. Mark was also a trustee in Hebron. When John Jacobson, the then serving village president had some legal problems (charged with unlawful possession of drugs) Mark made this public statement about Mr. Jacobson and his legal problem: “This is entirely in the best interest of the entire village. I feel that you have a problem and that you need to take the time to commit yourself to getting the help you need. I don’t think it can be done with the duties and pressures that come with the position, especially from this point forward.”
And then, just before the year of 2016 ended the following happened: on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 the victim of an automobile crash, Samantha Norris, 29 years old, Lake Geneva, succumbed to her injuries at Froedtert Hospital. Lake Geneva Police Chief, Michael S. Rasmussen, reported that on Tuesday, December 27th at approximately 5:20pm, officers were dispatched to Edward’s Boulevard (Hwy 120) south of Highway 50 following the report of a vehicle striking a pedestrian. Upon arrival, officers observed one victim having been struck by a vehicle. The victim was initially transported from the scene and later flown to Froedtert Hospital where she was listed in critical condition. The operator of the vehicle was Mark Mogan, 49 years old of Hebron, IL. Officers observed evidence of intoxication and Mogan was placed under arrest. Mogan was then transported to the Walworth County Jail where he was confined. A charge of “injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle” was referred to the Walworth County District Attorney’s office.
The initial investigation indicates that Mogan was driving southbound on Edward’s Boulevard when he struck the woman. The victim, Samantha Norris, was popular on Facebook and at the Grand Geneva Spa where she worked. The circumstances revolving around the auto/pedestrian accident remain a bit murky with respect to tort (fault) considerations. Mr. Mogan allegedly failed the sobriety test given to him by the police (and hence the forwarding of driving under the influence of alcohol charges to the district attorney), but Ms. Norris was also alleged to be crossing toward Wal-Mart, on that deadly business stretch of road, against the light. The rules about drinking and driving are so stringent in Wisconsin, and other states, that it may not matter who was technically at fault in the accident, even if it is eventually found that Ms. Norris was indeed crossing against the light. Mark Mogan’s potential state of intoxication may trump all other evidence and result in his conviction and a lengthy sentence.
If you are involved in an accident where someone dies in Wisconsin, and you are judged to have been under the influence of alcohol while driving a vehicle, then there is every likelihood that you will be found guilty of vehicular manslaughter. At the very least, it would appear that Mr. Mogan will no longer be a viable candidate for a position in the Hebron government, or for any other civil position, if found to be at fault and guilty in that crash. The problem of binge drinking on holidays in Wisconsin are legendary. A CBS News survey concluded that thirty percent of all Wisconsin residents over the age of sixteen binge drink on holidays, and those results include only those willing to admit they took part in binge drinking! That ranks Wisconsin as the fourth highest state in the nation for binge drinking. That statistic does not matter for driving purposes unless the drinking is combined with driving activity. What happened in this recent end of 2016 accident? One person’s life was ended while another person’s life was changed forever. Great expense was expended by the authorities of three municipalities, two counties and one hospital, not to mention the tragic impact on Ms. Norris’s survivors.
The cost to Mr. Mogan will also most likely be high and long-lasting, and not just financial.