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Minnesota truck driver given jail time for fatal N.D. crash

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

FARGO – A Long Prairie, Minn., truck driver will serve about two months in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor aggravated reckless driving in a fatal crash with a motorcycle last summer i.


James Toner, 56, was sentenced Monday in Cass County District Court to a one-year sentence with all but 75 days suspended, as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors dropped the original charge of Class B felony manslaughter. He was given credit for nine days already served in jail.

Judge Frank Racek ordered toner to two years of supervised probation, adding that Toner can’t have a commercial driver’s license as part of his probation terms.

Toner admitted in court that he had made an improper right-hand turn June 4 with his semi heading left across three lanes of traffic at the intersection of 25th Street South and 23rd Avenue in Fargo.

The maneuver made the semi-trailer “a steel wall” in front of 29-year-old Jason Viestenz’s motorcycle, said Assistant Cass County State’s Attorney Cherie Clark.

The motorcycle struck the semi, killing Viestenz  – who was not wearing a helmet – and injuring his 10-year-old son, Elijah, a passenger who was wearing a helmet.