What should have been a joyful trip turned tragic early Friday, when a central Wisconsin man died while driving his pregnant wife to the hospital to deliver their eighth child. Michael Rogan, 42, was driving a van with his wife and seven children aboard when another car hit a deer, sending the animal into the van's windshield. Wife Niki was able to steer the van into a shallow ditch, the AP reports. Rogan died of his injuries later at a Marathon County hospital; everyone else received only minor injuries, and Niki gave birth to a son named Blaise that afternoon—the new baby was baptized, as planned, Sunday at the family's church, the Wausau Daily Herald reports. A friend explains to WSAW that she doesn't think Niki has ever missed a mass due to a child's birth: "She wanted to go."
"It was a very teary morning," says the reverend, who notes that about 100 people came together at a nearby home after the baptism. Faith was important to Rogan, and the former Marine could typically be found at St. Mary's Oratory in Wausau, which he had attended for at least 15 years, about three times a week, the reverend says. Friends have stepped forward to help with Rogan's organic seed and fertilizer business, and a GoFundMe campaign has so far raised more than $270,000 for the family he left behind. Niki is a stay-at-home mom and homeschools the kids—who, besides the newborn, range in age from 2 to 15—and the money raised will be used to allow her to continue to do that as well as cover the costs of a new van, medical expenses, and the funeral this weekend.