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Charges: Driver Was Texting In McLeod County Crash That Killed Bicyclist

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 25-year-old Prior Lake woman is accused of texting while driving in an April crash that killed a bicyclist in McLeod County, according to charges filed Tuesday.

Emily Louise Givens was charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide resulting in death, careless driving and unlawful use of wireless communications device while driving in connection with the April 26 crash.

According to a criminal complaint, the McLeod County Sheriff's Office along with the Minnesota State Patrol was called to the crash at about 3:58 p.m. on County Road 3 just west of Hennepin Avenue in McLeod County. When officers arrived, Givens was driving a vehicle eastbound when she hit a bicyclist in the eastbound lane of traffic.

The bicyclist, identified as Penny Verdeck, was pronounced dead at the scene. The complaint states Givens told authorities she was driving the vehicle when it hit Verdeck and didn't see her on the bicycle. She said she immediately pulled over and called 911.

The complaint states an investigation showed Givens called 911 to report the accident just before 3:58 p.m. She also received two text messages at 3:45 p.m., and opened them at 3:57 p.m.

Givens denied to officers that she was on her phone at the time of the crash or before it. She's accused of being grossly negligent in driving the vehicle leading up to Verdeck's death because of the fact that she was on her cell phone reading text messages at or very near the time of the crash.

If convicted, Givens faces more than 10 years in prison and at least $20,00 in fines.

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