Wisconsin: Memorial to drunk driver’s victim has to go

What have you got against people killed by drunk drivers, Wisconsin?

In Sun Prairie, just north of Madison, a memorial to a woman killed by a drunk driver has been ordered removed because someone complained about it.

Maureen Mengelt, 52, was struck and killed in April last year when she was out for an afternoon run, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. Bruce Burnside, then a Lutheran bishop, had a blood alcohol content of .128 percent.

Over the summer, a bronze plaque was installed on state-owned land at the spot where she was killed, replacing a makeshift one composed of running shoes and flowers.

But now it has to go because in Wisconsin, if just one person complains, the memorial is torn down. One person complained. Anonymously.

Why? Perhaps it was the inscription:

Maureen Mengelt passed away at the age of 52 on Sunday April 7th, 2013. Her quick smile and positive attitude lifted everyone she met. Her interests were simple but brought out a passion and happiness that inspired others: Family, friends, running, good coffee, attending her children’s music programs and sporting events.

Her family has honored her by establishing “the Maureen Mengelt Memorial Fund” to benefit Sun Prairie youth activites. Her husband Kevin says the fund is proof that good truly can come from tragedy.

The city of Sun Prairie recognizes Maureen’s selfless acts of compassion, and is inspired by her family’s dedication to cultivating good works in our community.

“We tried to put up the most respectful, beautiful memorial we could, and now one person gets to anonymously complain and all of those good intentions mean nothing? It’s a terrible rule,” said Matt Glowacki of Sun Prairie.

The state will try to find another location for the memorial. But that’s not easing any anger.

“Context is at least part of the story,” Glowacki said. “You don’t put a Pearl Harbor memorial in the middle of Afghanistan.”

“It just seems mean spirited,” Mengelt’s husband says.

  • Noelle

    They’re removing it because of *one* complaint?? Good job, Wisconsin.

  • KTN

    Oooh, its so mean to make the family remove something private off public land. If they want to keep this memorial they are free to purchase a piece of land, or find some private owner that won’t mind foisting this thing on the public – but absent that, these memorials have no place on public land.

    • Jeff

      Who was this hurting? What is so bad about having a memorial on public land? Would it be better if the land was sold to the family for one dollar?

      • KTN

        It hurts all of us. Where does it stop, how many memorials should be placed on public land – 1, 100, 1000, how many exactly do you suggest is a good number of memorials. What if one of the memorialized is a convicted rapist, do they still get the memorial, or do they get a pass, because this is a memorial.
        If they want to foist this on the rest of us, it need to be from private land.

        • Jeff

          Pretend you are a parent. Pretend you have a child that you love. Pretend that child rapes someone. Pretend they are murdered. Pretend you want to memorialize them because they were your child that you loved, even though they did something horrible. Would your pain be any less than the parent of someone killed by a drunk driver? Should you not be allowed to put up a memorial? Remember – memorials ARE allowed. They just aren’t allowed if ONE person complains. So how many memorials should be placed on public land? As many as people want. But maybe the rule of removing the memorial if one person complains, even anonymously, should be changed. Let public opinion weed out the ones that aren’t appropriate from those that are. I’m sure that 10 people would be willing to sign their name to something that gets rid of an inappropriate memorial. It’s sad that an appropriate one gets axed by one coward who won’t even claim to be the person who made it get taken down.

          • KTN

            Who gets to decide which memorials are good and which shall be denied – you.
            If I had seen it, I would have complained and used my name – it has no place, as all those highway side memorials that sprout up every time someone dies. You want a memorial, get a grave marker.

  • Maude22

    Probably it wasn’t making Scott Walker enough money.