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Charge: Cellphone Distracted Driver in Fatal Crash

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BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) – Prosecutors suspect a ringing cellphone distracted a 68-year-old Minnesota woman and caused her to fatally strike a South Dakota State athlete on a training run.

Linda Gullickson of Albertville is charged with criminal vehicular homicide in the death of 19-year-old Phillip LaVallee last August.

LaVallee, of Otsego, was struck from behind while running on the shoulder of a road. Gullickson’s van allegedly crossed two lanes and struck him.

According to the complaint, phone records show Gullickson received a call on her cellphone around the time of the crash. The call was not answered.

Authorities found no evidence that Gullickson swerved or used her brakes to avoid hitting LaVallee.

Gullickson’s attorney, Dennis B. Johnson, says his client has “no recollection of a phone call coming in.”

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