OREGON – An Oregon man who the prosecutor says was drunk when the boat he was driving was involved in a fatal crash more than a year ago now faces felony charges.
Marc Mongan, 47, had been charged with six misdemeanors in the death of a Rockford woman more than a year ago. On Wednesday, felony charges were filed in Ogle County Court.
Mongan was charged with seven felony counts – one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class 2 felony; three counts of reckless homicide, all Class 3 felonies; and three counts of reckless conduct, all Class 4 felonies.
He is charged in the death of Megan Wells, 31, who was killed June 24, 2016, when Mongan’s jonboat struck her as it went over the back of the pontoon boat in which she was riding, throwing her overboard.
Wells died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
The collision occurred about 8:40 p.m. on the Rock River, 3 miles north of Oregon.
Ogle County Associate Judge John Redington set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 18, when he will rule on whether probable cause exists for the felony charges. That can be determined by either a grand jury or a judge. Special Prosecutor David Neal decided against convening a grand jury.
“Doing it this way will expedite the case, which has already been going on for some time," Neal said.
Mongan’s attorney, David Tess of Rochelle, said he received the new charges only a few minutes before Wednesday's hearing and had not yet reviewed them.
“I think it’s safe to say they mirror the previous charges,” he said.
The case formerly was being prosecuted by State’s Attorney Eric Morrow, who said in August that new evidence was discovered that could result in felony charges.
In December, a grand jury failed to indict Mongan on felony charges of operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and aggravated reckless operation of a watercraft.
Mongan was charged with misdemeanor operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and reckless operation of a watercraft following the grand jury’s decision. Four more charges were filed July 21: one count of improper passing when approaching a boat, two counts of careless operation of a watercraft, and one more count of reckless operation of a watercraft.
In May, Rockford attorney Cynthia Koroll, who represents Wells’ parents, David and Robin Swaziek of Loves Park, asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to replace and investigate Morrow for obstruction of justice for failing to get a search warrant to have Mongan’s blood drawn.
She also said there were conflicts of interest because Morrow and Mongan both are members of the Oregon Masons and Tebala Shriners.
Reddington denied her motions in June. He appointed Neal to prosecute the case in August at Morrow’s request.
David Swaziek said he was pleased with the new charges.
“This is a more positive chapter in that we’re upgrading the charges. We’re going to see some justice here. That’s what we wanted from the beginning,” he said. “We were put in a club nobody wants to be in. We just want to be sure there’s consequences for the actions.”
Wells, the mother of three small children, was a passenger on a pontoon boat driven by her uncle, David Daily, 53, of Leaf River. Daily and the other passengers on his boat, Phillip Lukes, 53, of Chicago; and Sherry Bushre, 60, of Chicago, refused treatment at the scene, as did Mongan.
Nicholas Lamb, 30, Oregon, a passenger in Mongan’s boat, was injured and taken to a Rockford hospital.
Mongan is also facing three civil lawsuits, one filed by Wells’ husband, Robbie, another filed by Lukes and Bushre, and a third filed by Daily and his wife, Leigh.