Tragic story out of Sun Prairie, WI
by on Wednesday, April 10, 2013  (5 comments)

Some of you have probably already heard about this story. In short, a woman named Maureen Mengelt from Sun Prairie was out on a training run Sunday afternoon when she was hit by a drunk driver. She was taken to a local hospital but died at the hospital.

I was informed this morning that she was a long-time runner who had run the well known Syttende Mai 20 miler in Stoughton (near Madison) over 20 times. I'm sure she will be deeply missed in the running community over there.

Fortunately, it looks like law enforcement is throwing the book at this driver. It seems too often like incidents of car vs. walker/runner/cyclist are not treated so seriously. Excuses are made for the drivers and charges are usually minimal, if anything more than a civil fine of sometimes less than $200, even in the case of serious injury or death.

I'm posting this for two reasons. First, if anyone wants to follow this story, I can post follow-ups in the comments. Second, please be careful out there. I hate intersections, especially freeway exits. Drivers don't look out for anyone not in a car, if they do see you they often assume you will get out of the way even if you have the right of way and they are incredibly unpredictable at intersections.

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5 comments
Ed

This is tragic. If I am not carefull I could get hit nearly every day. Most drivers do not stop at the stop line in intersections with stop signs. Also, pulling out of McDonalds, people are almost never looking for pedestrians.

We have to keep hyper alert near driveways and intersections and road running gives us plenty of those. It helps to not have any earbuds in listening to music - that gives one more sense to use to protect ourselves.

Stay safe out there people.

Defensive running saves lives.

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Ryan

I guess I'm fortunate in that I generally can avoid areas with frequent intersections. When I lived in Waukesha, I wasn't quite as fortunate but, where I live and work now, I don't have too many to cross. Driveways and intersections are where those bad things tend to happen, though, as long as you're running on the left side of the road, which makes it extremely unlikely anyone will come up behind you and blindside you.

I've taken a lot of heat over the years over my dislike of using headphones while running outdoors but this is a big reason why I don't like it. If someone is coming up behind you and turning left, you can only hope to hear them. I've had it happen to me where I've been able to get to safety when hearing someone turn left toward me. I couldn't see the car, I could only hear it approaching, slowing, then accelerating toward me. If I were wearing headphones, I probably would have been hit. Most incidents happen with the car in the runner's line of sight, I'd say the majority are what I've termed "look left, turn right" and in those cases the risk is a car you can see coming and often a move you can see coming, as the car usually rolls through the stop sign/red light without any intent of stopping and, if you can see in the car, only the back of the driver's head is visible. However, it sure is good to have all your senses for those other cases.

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Diane

So sorry to hear this. Two days ago I saw a car coming towards me in a side street intersection. The car was moving way faster than 25 and didn't look like it was going to stop at the stop sign. I was trying to guess either speed forward or lunge back when suddenly the driver saw me and careened in front of me. To make matters worse, it was someone I knew. She gave me an off handed wave like it was nothing. Diane

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Diane

So sorry to hear this. Two days ago I saw a car coming towards me in a side street intersection. The car was moving way faster than 25 and didn't look like it was going to stop at the stop sign. I was trying to guess either speed forward or lunge back when suddenly the driver saw me and careened in front of me. To make matters worse, it was someone I knew. She gave me an off handed wave like it was nothing. Diane

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Charlene

Sun Prairie is just down the Hwy from me and I am familiar with this area. Hwy 19 has a very nice stretch of running paths but to get there one has to cross an exit and entrance ramp to get past 151.

This very nice article gives some very nice details about the life of the victim.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/lutheran-bishop-accused-of-killing-pedestrian-in-sun-prairie-while-drunk-6t9fam1-201909101.html

I never trust any car to see me or to yield. I have found that the most dangerous place on the road is in a cross walk.

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