The Dane County District Attorney's Office, which is losing six prosecutors in January in part because the loss of some federal grants, will hang on to one grant-funded position after the state renewed funding for the prosecution of serious traffic crashes.
Sheriff Dave Mahoney said Tuesday that a $150,000 traffic safety grant, federal money that is issued through the state Department of Transportation, will continue to fund investigations of crashes involving serious injury or death and a position in the DA's office held by Assistant District Attorney Emily Thompson.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said the money "will help us with these difficult cases that are very complex in nature and take a lot of resources."
Retired Madison police officer Andy Garcia said the intensive prosecution of serious traffic crash cases is important to people like his family, who were looking for answers after the death of his daughter, Andrea, three years ago at the hands of a negligent driver.
Richard J. Nelson, 24, received an 18-month prison sentence for homicide by negligent driving for the May 15, 2009, crash.
Garcia said the grant allowed Thompson to work with the state Department of Justice and other agencies "to investigate the case the way these tragedies should be."
Mahoney and Ozanne said that in addition to Thompson's job, the grant funds law enforcement training of major crashes and helps provide services to victims and their families.