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Judge accepts plea deal in I-29 crash that killed unborn baby

Claudia Rae Grace

HILLSBORO, N.D. -- A Florida woman will avoid jail time for causing a July crash on Interstate 29 that took the life of an unborn child.

Traill County District Court Judge Tom Olson accepted a plea deal for Claudia Rae Grace, 75, of The Villages, Fla., who entered a guilty plea to a Class A misdemeanor count of aggravated reckless driving. She was sentenced to 360 days behind bars, the maximum punishment for the charge, but Olson suspended the entire jail sentence, pursuant to the plea agreement.

On July 8, Tyler Michael Bedney of Grand Forks was driving north in a 2017 Chevy Silverado and attempted to pass Grace, who was driving a Toyota passenger car, according to court documents. That's when Grace tried to pass a vehicle in front of her, but she did not see the pickup and turned into it, according to court documents.

Bedney and his passenger Ashley Ashley Renae Fontaine were seriously injured in the crash, according to the North Dakota State Patrol. Grace was not injured, prosecutors said.

Fontaine was six months pregnant, and she lost the baby in the crash.

In exchange for signing the plea agreement, a Class C felony of negligent homicide brought against Grace, which carried a prison term of up to five years, was dismissed.

Grace will be put on unsupervised probation for a year. The case and guilty plea will be expunged 61 days after the termination of her probation.

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