Manslaughter Charge in Accident - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Manslaughter Charge in Accident

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The man driving a semi that plowed into vehicles stopped at a red light in Minot in May, killing a Montana woman, is now facing criminal charges.

Clark Christensen of Idaho is charged with manslaughter in the death of Megan Shoal of Plentywood.

She was sitting in her car at the stoplight near Behm's Truck stop when Christensen's semi plowed into her car.

Investigators say Christensen had failed to hook up brakes to the trailer of his rig.

Jim Olson reports on what authorities are charging.

It was a lovely Thursday evening in May when this intersection turned into a junk yard. Mangled masses of what used to be cars and trucks sat in various degrees of destruction. And one of the drivers, 21-year-old Megan Shoal of Plentywood, Montana, was dead. It was all caused by one truck - a semi driven by 57-year-old Clark Christensen of Shelley, Idaho. And now, prosecutors in Ward County say what happened that night was criminal. Christensen has been charged with manslaughter, a Class-B Felony.

The affidavit filed Friday in Northwest District Court says Christensen failed to properly inspect his truck and crashed into the stopped vehicles without taking evasive maneuvers to avoid the collision. Court documents say Christensen had picked up the trailer he was towing on Minot's east side just prior to the crash. Investigators say the brake connectors from the semi tractor to the trailer were not hooked up and in fact were wrapped in a bungy cord hanging from the cab of the tractor. That would explain what investigators initially found - no skid marks leading to the crash.

The accident happened May 16th about dinner time - as many people were on the road headed home. Christensen's truck plowed into several vehicles stopped at a red light where the highway meets the bypass and pushed some into the intersection, causing collisions with traffic moving with the green light. A total of eight vehicles were damaged or destroyed. And Megan Shoal's life ended. Now, the man behind the when of the truck that caused the carnage will have to answer in court. Jim Olson, KX News.

The Class B Felony carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine.

A warrant has been issued for Christensen's arrest - it's believed he is currently in Idaho.

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