Charges: Driver was surfing Facebook during fatal crash in Red River Valley


Prosecutors say a 20-year-old North Dakota driver charged with negligent homicide was viewing photos on Facebook and traveling about 85 miles per hour when she rear-ended an SUV, killing a great-grandmother from Ada, Minnesota.

The crash on Interstate 29 near Hillsboro, North Dakota, last May killed Phyllis Gordon, who was a passenger in the SUV driven by her grandaughter, Valley News Live reports. The SUV had apparently slowed to make a U-turn when it was hit by the vehicle driven by Abby Sletten (right), who did not use her car's brakes before the crash, the station says.

KARE 11 reports authorities obtained a search warrant for Sletten's cellphone. They determined that she was viewing photos on her Facebook app at the time of the accident and had exchanged several text messages since leaving Fargo on her way to Grand Forks.

According to her obituary, Gordon (left) had two children, eight grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. She had worked as a baker and a home health aide in Ada, where she and her husband moved after retiring from their farm near Borup in 1986.

The Star Tribune reports Sletten told a patrol officer she had no recollection of the crash.

If convicted on the felony charge of negligent homicide, Sletten would face up to five years in prison, Valley News Live says. The station reports North Dakota's 2011 law prohibiting texting while driving carries a $100 fine, a penalty Trail County Sheriff Mike Crocker says needs to be toughened.

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