Nicolet Law Office, S.C.

Sun Prairie woman killed by intoxicated clergyman

A community in central Wisconsin is still reeling after the death of a 52-year-old woman whose life was cut short when she was hit by a drunk driver while out for a jog. Though the investigation is still ongoing, police have released the name of the man responsible for her death, and it's a name many residents were shocked to hear.

Fifty-nine-year-old Rev. Bruce Burnside is now in sheriff's custody after his involvement in the auto-pedestrian accident. According to police, Burnside, who was believed to be intoxicated at the time of the accident, struck the woman as she jogged along a running path that crossed the northbound off-ramp of Highway 151. Police say that the reverend was on his way to a 3 pm service at a nearby Lutheran church at the time of the accident and is now being held on charges of homicide by intoxicated driving and hit-and-run causing death.

Although many of his congregation members have expressed feelings of sadness and anger over the accident, no one feels the pain of loss more than the woman's family and those that were close to her. According to many of the people that knew her best, she was a caring person. Her husband explained to reporters that he's still in shock over the accident. She had run that path many times without any incident.

Because the investigation is still ongoing, police have decided not to release the reverend's exact blood-alcohol level at this time. They have reported that the accident was alcohol related, but no criminal charges have been filed at this time.

Drunk-driving accidents such as this are always a tragedy; but when the driver responsible for another person's death turns out to be someone you'd least expect, the feeling of hurt can be all that much worse. Until the investigation is completed, the family must endure their grief and hope that justice is served in the end.

Source: The Wisconsin State Journal, "Police: Lutheran bishop was intoxicated behind the wheel when he hit, killed woman," Doug Erickson, April 9, 2013

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