Verdict Reached in Christensen Trial - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Verdict Reached in Christensen Trial

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A guilty verdict was reached in the trial of an Idaho man charged in a fatal accident near Behm's Truck Stop in May of 2013.

The jury found 58-year-old Clark Christensen guilty of negligent homicide, a Class C felony.

The verdict was reduced from the original charge of Class B manslaughter.

(Clerk of Court) "We find the defendant Clark L. Christensen guilty of negligent homicide."

(Judge Gary Lee, Northwest District Court) "The idea behind the jury is to bring the common sense of the community together so that a fair and just decision can be reached and I believe we have accomplished that purpose here today."

The 2013 crash resulted in the death of 21-year-old Megan Shoal.

Shoal was stopped at a red light at the intersection of the 83 bypass and 2 and 52 bypass when she was struck from behind by a semi driven by Christensen.

As the only defense witness, Christensen acknowledged that the air brakes for the semi-trailer were not functioning properly, but argued that the tractor brakes were sufficient to stop the vehicle.

Christensen says it was the inability to reach the brakes in a sneezing fit that caused the accident, not the condition of the brakes.

Prosecution said it was an avoidable crash if the truck had been operated properly.

A Class C felony carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Christensen will have a sentencing hearing in 60-90 days after the pre-sentence investigation.


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