An Ogle County grand jury declined to indict an Oregon man accused of boating drunk and causing a crash that killed a Rockford woman in June.
Marc W. Mongan, 46, will not be charged with a felony in the death of Megan Wells, 31, Ogle County State's Attorney Eric Morrow said in a news release Monday afternoon.
After listening to witness testimony, watching video statements and considering other evidence, the jurors failed to find probable cause to levy the more severe charges of felony operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and aggravated reckless operation of a watercraft, Morrow said. The first could have carried 3 to 14 years in prison, the second 1 to 3 years.
Under Illinois law, a finding of probable cause is necessary to bind a defendant over for trial on felony charges.
“We respect the decision of the grand jury and believe that the jurors gave thoughtful consideration to the evidence presented,” Morrow said in the release. “Without a finding of probable cause, my office is not legally able to proceed with felony charges.”
Mongan still faces misdemeanor charges of operating a watercraft while under the influence and reckless operation. His next hearing is Wednesday.
Wells died of blunt force trauma to the chest when the pontoon boat she was in, which was being driven by David D. Daily, 52, Leaf River, and the 18-foot motorboat driven by Mongan collided around 8:40 p.m. on the Rock River about three miles north of Oregon.
Wells' husband, Robbie E. Wells, Rockford, is suing both men in Ogle County Court for wrongful death, accusing them of negligence and reckless operation of a motorboat.
Daily was not charged.
According to the suit, each man was operating in a "negligent and careless manner," by driving too fast to stop, failing to signal while approaching or passing each other's boats, failing to pass the oncoming boat without interfering with its path, and failing to take the necessary actions to avoid the collision.
Wells is suing for more than $50,000 in damages on behalf of himself and the couple's three minor children, two boys and a girl.
In their response to the complaint, filed Oct. 14, Mongan and Daily deny any negligence or recklessness.
A case management conference is set for Jan. 20.