Long Prairie trucker pleads not guilty

Long Prairie trucker pleads not guilty Click to Enlarge Photo:

Jan 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

FARGO, N.D. (KNSI) A Minnesota truck driver has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in a crash in Fargo that killed a motorcyclist.

Authorities say 56-year-old James Toner, of Long Prairie drifted wide to the left with his rig so he could make a right-hand turn at an intersection last June.

Twenty-nine-year-old motorcyclist Jason Viestenz of Fargo was trailing and collided with the rig. He died and his 10-year-old son was injured.

Toner's attorney argued the incident was "a terrible accident" but not a criminal act, and that the manslaughter charge was too harsh. J

udge Frank Racek ruled there was probable cause to support the charge, after a commercial driving instructor testified that so-called "jug handle" turns are unsafe.

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