MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A New Prague woman is facing distracted driving charges in an accident that left a 79-year-old bus driver dead.
Susan Ann Russo, 47, faces one count of reckless driving causing death and one count of misuse of wireless communication device.READ MORE: Tips For Buying A Home In A Historically Tough Market
According to the criminal complaint, just after 7:39 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2015 LeSueur County officers were dispatched to a car accident involving a pedestrian.
The call reported that the driver, later identified as Russo, was traveling near the intersection of First Street Southeast and County Road 29 when she collided with a pedestrian who was crossing the street.
The pedestrian, later identified as Joe Tikalsky, was killed on the scene.
Upon arrival, officers learned that Russo was traveling east on County Road 29 at the posted speed limit. As she approached the intersection of First Avenue Southeast, she looked down to check her cellphone. She saw a message from her daughter and while she was typing a response, the impact occurred.READ MORE: What's The Risk Of Getting COVID On A Plane?
The complaint states Russo told officers when she looked back up she said she saw a yellow color blur and immediately pulled over to the side of the road to call 911.
Russo’s phone was seized as evident in the case. Officers confirmed a text message was received moments prior to the crash from Russo’s daughter.
According to the complaint, the primary cause of the accident was Russo not paying attention to the roadway ahead of her due to her cellphone usage.
Additionally, the complaint states Russo’s car did not break prior to hitting Tikalsky.
Tikalsky was a beloved bus driver in the New Prague area.MORE NEWS: DNR: Early 'Fish Kill' On Minnesota Lakes Isn't Cause For Alarm
If found guilty Russo faces a maximum of 1 year in prison, a $3,000 fine or both for reckless driving, and a maximum of 90 days in prison, a $1,000 fine or both for misuse of an electronic device.