His greatest love was his family. He was strong and patient with the children. —Tami Richardson, sister-in-law
MILWAUKEE — A father driving his pregnant wife and children to the hospital for the birth of the couple's eighth child was killed when a deer struck their van in central Wisconsin, according to sheriff's officials and relatives.
Michael Rogan, 42, suffered fatal injuries when the deer crashed through the windshield on a rural highway in Marathon County on Friday. Rogan's wife, Niki, and seven children, ages 2 to 15, suffered minor injuries, according to Marathon County sheriff's officials.
Michael Rogan was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, and Niki gave birth hours later to a healthy son named Blaise, relatives and friends said Monday. Some of the children suffered cuts, but are otherwise OK, relatives said.
"His greatest love was his family," Tami Richardson said of her brother-in-law. "He was strong and patient with the children."
Sheriff's Lt. Ted Knoeck said another vehicle struck the deer on Highway 97 in the Town of Cleveland, which threw the animal into the Rogans' windshield. Richardson said her sister was able to steer the van to some soft soil in a shallow ditch.
One of the couple's longtime friends, Dominic Gruetzmacher, said he was amazed to seek Niki and the children at their Wausau church two days after the accident and birth. Blaise was baptized Sunday.
Michael Rogan was active in the church, sang in the choir and helped with a boys' group, Gruetzmacher said. Rogan also served in the U.S. Marines and was a reserve member following his active duty.
"He was a strong guy. He dove into the world head on and approached it with enthusiasm," Gruetzmacher said.
Richardson said Rogan took over his father-in-law's organic seed and fertilizer business after her father died about eight years ago. Now, family and friends are stepping forward to help at a critical time for the business.
"The seeds need to be delivered. We just have to identify who the customers are," she said. "We've been humbled by the support that has been offered."
Gruetzmacher, who is leading a fundraising effort for the family, said Niki Rogan home-schools the children.