MADISON — Another repeat offender released on low bail by a liberal judge has gone on to kill — this time in Madison.
David A. Hanaway, 38, of Monona, who has a long rap sheet of felonies and assorted misdemeanors was driving a sedan Thursday morning on Cottage Grove Road when he ran a red light and smashed his car into a vehicle, according to police.
Hanaway was killed, and so were his victims: 68-year-old Mark A. Brylski and 66-year-old Kathy A. Brylski, both of Madison, according to the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office. Sources say the Brylskis had just finished breakfast at a Cottage Grove restaurant and had driven off when their vehicle was struck by Hanaway’s sedan. Multiple witnesses say Hanaway’s vehicle was traveling as fast as 60 miles per hour on the residential and commercial street.
Hanaway and Mark Brylski were pronounced dead at the scene. Kathy Brylski died at a local hospital. A passenger in Hanaway’s car was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Hanaway has routinely passed through Dane County’s revolving door criminal justice system over the past 20 years. Most recently, he was charged with misdemeanor battery and felony bail jumping.
So, one of Dane County’s newest liberal circuit court judges, David Conway — freshly appointed to the bench by Gov. Tony Evers — set bail for Hanaway, a flight risk, at a mere $750.
At the same hearing, on Aug. 26, Hanaway was arraigned on a previous pending charge of Felony Eluding an Officer. His original cash bail in that charge was set at $500. And, the icing on the cake: Hanaway was charged with extradition on a fugitive warrant from Illinois. So Judge Conway knew this repeat offender was facing felony charges. He would have been aware of Hanaway’s lengthy criminal record, which included multiple convictions on destruction of property, bail-jumping and at leat four charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. His record included a conviction of throwing or expelling bodily substances at a corrections officer.
Perhaps Judge Conway should have seen this coming. In late 2009, what began as a simple traffic stop turned into a brawl after Hanaway and a passenger became combative, according to a police report. Police arrested Hanaway on charges of drunken driving, operating after license revocation and resisting arrest.
“Hanaway, the driver of the car, started walking away and told officers to leave him alone, saying he didn’t do anything wrong. He then started to run, but stopped when officers threatened to use a TASER on him,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
“When he was placed in handcuffs, the other occupant of the car (Wilson) told officers ‘You are not taking him to jail,’ and became verbally and physically combative,” Police Officer Howard Payne told the newspaper. About six to eight males started to gather at the scene and were becoming hostile toward the officers, police said.
In seeking the appointment to the bench, Conway told Evers that trial judges are on the front lines of confronting “some of society’s most difficult and emotionally-fraught issues — death divorce, adoption, delinquency, crime, and interpersonal disputes.
“By doing the job well, a trial judge can improve lives, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase the public’s confidence in the court system. These essential functions depend on the careful and tireless efforts of a dedicated circuit court bench,” Conway wrote in his application. He added that he possesses the skills of a good circuit court judge — “compassion, personality, and pragmatism” — and that he will use said skills to “improve my community through thoughtful, conscientious judging.”
Conway’s “compassion” cost two innocent people their lives.
There’s a lot of that going around. Just ask the people of Waukesha. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s “progressive justice” office last month recommended just $1,000 bail for the man who is charged with driving through Waukesha’s Christmas parade, mowing down scores of people and killing six.
Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said the Madison Police Department’s “thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones during the holiday season.”
“Our officers work hard to ensure people who have caused harm are separated from our community. This often includes making arrests,” the chief said in a statement to Empower Wisconsin. “When it comes to if a person is held on bond or the amount, that is out of our hands. We trust the judicial branch of government has a process in place to ensure those persons who pose the most significant harm at the time of their arrest are held on a higher bond and those who post a less significant risk are allowed to have a lower bond or condition of release.”
The crash remains under investigation, Barnes said.