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After fatal crash, texting driver sentenced to distracted driving campaign

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Part of a North Dakota man's sentence for a fatal high-speed texting and driving crash last summer is a 100-day public appearance campaign about the dangers of distracted driving.

Nicholas Scott Milbrandt, 21, pleaded guilty to felony negligent homicide Tuesday in the death of 61-year-old Royce Rodacker, Forum News reports. Milbrandt was driving over 100 mph and texting when he rear-ended Rodacker on eastbound Interstate 94 near West Fargo on Aug. 1, 2013, reports say.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a two-year probation term that requires him to speak out publicly against distracted driving, Forum News says. The campaign involves the North Dakota Department of Transportation and Milbrandt, who will speak to school groups and possibly be involved in a television campaign, prosecutors told Forum News.

The sentence was a joint recommendation from prosecutors and the defense. Milbrandt's lawyer said his client is willing to do anything he can to warn against texting while driving.

After the crash, Milbrandt's lawyer said his client had been dealing with "emotional issues," according to the Jamestown Sun. In court Tuesday, Milbrandt said he was sorry for what he had done and "I took away someone's family member," Forum News says.

Milbrandt was charged last September in Cass County District Court with felony manslaughter and reckless endangerment, the Crookston Times says, but pleaded not guilty to those charges. He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide Tuesday, which holds a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

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