AAA: Fatal crash highlights need for Sioux Falls texting & drivi - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

AAA: Fatal crash highlights need for Sioux Falls texting & driving ban

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A motorcyclist is dead following a five vehicle car crash on Wednesday night. It happened just before 6pm at the corner of 26th Street and Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls.

A man driving a Chrysler C300 hit three cars before hitting the motorcycle, driven by Philip Lowel Sorensen, 33.

Police say Brent O'Neal was not only driving 60 miles per hour but he also was texting at the time of the crash.

The Sioux Falls City Council is currently considering a ban on a texting while driving for city streets. The South Dakota AAA says this accident is just another example of how dangerous one text message can be.

In a matter of seconds several lives were forever changed in Wednesday night's multi-car collision, a wreck caused in large part by text messaging.

"People think that because there's no law it's ok when it really isn't." Said Marilyn Buskohl with the South Dakota AAA public affairs.

The local AAA office is hoping to help correct those bad driving habits. Right now through next week AAA has a driving simulator on loan from the Sioux Empire Safety Village. Any driver can come in and witness first hand the effects of distracted driving.

"It's just a good way of showing kids, especially young drivers how just a few seconds with their eyes of the road can have everlasting consequences." Said Buskohl.

But it's not just the young drivers who have a hard time with the simulators. I buckled up for my own test drive. I admit, I thought it would be pretty simple task to drive around, make a few phone calls and send a few text messages. But I quickly learned it only takes a second for an accident to happen.

A fact that was also true in Wednesday's crash. Officer Sam Clemens says it shows why there are rules for the road.

"When you have somebody that's not paying attention of the roadway and driving at that high rate of speed especially with that traffic conditions, it makes for a bad combination. And we've see the worst of what could happen. We've got people with cars damaged and a person in critical condition because of it." Said Officer Clemens.

Knowing that this accident could have been prevented is sobering, but the folks at AAA hope the message sinks in. 

"People think it's never going to happen to them when the reality is it does happen and it's happening more and more, we'd like to get the message out any way can that texting and driving or being distracted and driving just aren't a good combination." Said Buskohl.

O'Neal appeared in court Wednesday for charges of careless and reckless driving. He's also charged with felony hit and run and four counts of hit and run, because he ran away after the crash. Since the crash now involves a fatality, more charges may be coming for O'Neal.

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