Brogle takes close win in coroner’s race

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – A close race saw a local physician take the seat of the St. Charles Parish Coroner, an office that was held by the same man for nearly 30 years.

Dr. Brian Brogle beat out Dr. Monica Vial Benson in the runoff on Saturday with 52 percent of the vote. Though Benson came out with the lead in the primary election held earlier this month, her voter totals in the runoff were 2, 515, compared with 2,689 for Brogle.

The voter turnout was about 16 percent of eligible voters, and though that is not a good voter attendance, parish Clerk of Court Charles Oubre said he was not surprised,

“If the ballot is for a special election or has just one item, it’s always low,” Oubre said.

Brogle takes over the office for Dr. David “Jerry” Vial, Benson’s father, who held the position from 1976 until his death last fall, and left a term which does not expire until 2007. Dr. Benson has been serving as assistant coroner in the wake of her father’s death under interim coroner Earl J. Alleman.

However, Alleman died last week, several days before the election, of kidney failure, leaving Benson to serve as interim coroner until the day Brogle is certified.

Brogle said that he has plans to improve on the efficiency and technological modernization of the coroner’s office, such as getting the “turn-around time” on death certificates to be faster and enhancing the computer systems.

Brogle also said, as a new coroner, he will look into bio-terrorism and possible nuclear threats in order to have a plan in case of an emergency.

“It’s easy to take care of one or two people, but not so easy to take care of a hundred,” Brogle said, “and I don’t want to figure out how to do it the day it happens.”

Before he goes into office, Brogle plans to meet with Sheriff Champagne, crime scene investigators, fire chiefs and paramedics to find, from their standpoints, what could be done to expedite the sometimes complicated situations they all deal with.

“I am interested in finding out what people need to say about getting the job done efficiently and appropriately,” he said.

Brogle, from Destrehan, specializes in adult and pediatric urology and has practices in both LaPlace and Luling.

He said both of his offices will remain open as he does not see an issue in conflicts with his new position.