A 20-year-old woman accused of surfing Facebook while she was driving at 85 mph on a North Dakota highway earlier this year has been charged with negligent homicide after a fatal rear-end accident.

Abby Sletten was en route from Fargo to Grand Forks on Interstate 29 on the afternoon of May 27 when she passed a witness who was traveling at 80 mph. Meanwhile, the witness later told authorities, he could see another vehicle farther ahead braking and signalling an unauthorized U-turn, according to CNN and the Star Tribune.

Sletten allegedly never braked before plowing into the SUV in her Ford Escape. An 89-year-old passenger in the SUV died at the scene; her granddaughter and great-grandddaughter survived.

Police got a warrant and searched Sletten’s cellphone and say that she had been texting while driving and viewing photos on a mobile Facebook app at the time of the fatal crash.

Ordinarily, such cases of distracted driving are difficult to prove unless the alleged perpetrator’s cellphone can be searched, North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan Niewind told CNN. State law there prohibits texting while driving.

Sletten appeared Wednesday in Traill County District Court where bail was set at $5,000. Her lawyer, Bruce Quick, declined to comment.

Adam Lee Nemann
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Trial and Defense Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law at Capital University, founder of Nemann Law Offices
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