Ogle Co. Man Accused in Deadly Boating Crash Appears in Court

A judge made key decision regarding evidence in the case

OGLE COUNTY - The Ogle County man accused in the boating death of a Rockford woman was back in court Tuesday.

Marc Mongan faces seven felonies after police say he drove his boat drunk and crashed it into a pontoon carrying Megan Wells -- causing injuries that killed her.

Wells' parents, David and Robin Swaziek, sat quietly in an Ogle County courtroom waiting for a judge to make several key rulings in the case. The judge sided with the prosecution on several motions. One of them allows Megan Wells' parents to be considered victims in the case. That means they can make victim impact statements during the trial. The Swazieks were previously considered victims in the other, misdemeanor case against Mongan that has since been dismissed.

"We're having difficult times right now, during the holiday season, but this was...some positive things happened today," said David Swaziek.

Mongan's attorneys filed two motions trying to limit evidence that can be presented at trial. One of them asked that pictures and reports from the coroner not be shown. They're concerned the images could evoke sympathy for Wells from the jury. The judge denied that request.

"The judge made a ruling today regarding a motion the defense had made to keep out certain autopsy and coroner and forensic pathology reports," explained Special Prosecutor David Neal. "The judge has ruled that it's appropriate the a jury hear this information."

In a separate request, Mongan's attorneys asked the judge to throw out some evidence from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They claim the agency illegally released video interviews of Mongan from the night of the accident -- along with a 149 page report -- after a Freedom of Information Act Request. The defense says it's concerned any witnesses and jurors will read that before the trial begins.

"It totally affects our ability to do effective cross examination of any of those witnesses, because each and every witness has had an opportunity to review the entire IDNR, 149 page report," Mongan's attorney David Tess explained in court.

The judge did not make a decision on the IDNR evidence, saying he needs to review FOIA law first. But Neal says the release of the information was completely legal.

"The Department of Natural Resources acted legally and properly under the statutes and under the opinion of the Attorney General of the state of Illinois."

The judge will revisit the IDNR evidence on January 22nd. The trial officially begins February 14th.


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