MN trucker pleads not guilty to manslaughter in ND

1:00 PM, Jan 19, 2013   |    comments
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FARGO, N.D. - A Minnesota truck driver has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in a crash in the North Dakota city of Fargo that killed a motorcyclist.

Authorities say 56-year-old James Toner, of Long Prairie, Minn., 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.

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

Judge 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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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