Woman gets 4-day prison sentence for fatal texting-and-driving crash

NEW PRAGUE, MN (KARE) The family of a Minnesota man killed by a texting driver last October is seeking tougher laws, hoping they may serve as a deterrent for those who don’t realize what’s at stake when they are distracted behind the wheel.

Joe Tikalsky, 79, was struck by a texting driver while standing at his mailbox on the shoulder of a rural road. He even happened to be wearing a neon yellow reflective vest at the time.

Susan Ann Russo pleaded guilty to charges Tuesday and will serve four days in the county jail, pay a $3,000 fine, and be on probation for two years.

Greg Tikalsky said his own driving habits had changed, but asserted that people shouldn’t have to lose a loved one to get the message.

“Dad was a watchdog for his family, and we felt like we needed to be a watchdog for dad now,” Greg Tikalsky explained.

The family is frustrated that Minnesota law lacks teeth when it comes to those who take a life while distracted by a mobile device.

“We need stricter penalties and we need people to be aware of the heavy consequences that go with it, and think seriously before they pick up that phone,” Joe’s son, Greg Tikalsky, says.

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