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Moorhead man accused of distracted driving in North Dakota crash that killed 2

An investigation determined that the driver's phone records showed that he ended a phone conversation 10 seconds before the crash and that he accessed a Snapchat application on his phone 5 seconds before the crash, according to court documents filed in Cass County District Court.

The Cass County Courthouse in October 2016.
Cass County Courthouse.
Forum file photo
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FARGO — A Moorhead man accused of distracted driving in a crash that killed two people in September 2021 is set to make an appearance in Cass County District Court on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Jason Alleyn Olsonoski, 44, is charged with two counts of negligent homicide and one count of reckless endangerment/extreme indifference. All of the charges are Class C felonies.

Amy Ulmer, 39, of Wheatland, North Dakota, was driving an SUV on state Highway 18 at about 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2021, when she slowed to make a left turn into a driveway and her vehicle was struck from behind by a pickup driven by Olsonoski, according to a report released by the North Dakota Highway Patrol shortly after the crash.

The collision sent the SUV into the oncoming lane, striking a southbound vehicle driven by 82-year-old Richard Nelson, of Devils Lake, according to the patrol's report. Nelson and his passenger, Marilyne Kaye Sandbeck, 69, of Devils Lake, were both killed in the crash.

Ulmer and two daughters who were in her vehicle, ages 8 and 5, were injured in the crash and the 5-year-old was flown to a Fargo hospital with serious injuries, according to the Highway Patrol report.

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An investigation determined that Olsonoski's phone records showed that he ended a phone conversation 10 seconds before the crash and that he accessed a Snapchat application on his phone 5 seconds before the crash, according to court documents.

"Olsonoski's distraction led to the crash," a court document stated.

The crash happened near Hunter, a town about 37 miles northwest of Fargo.

Thursday's hearing at 1:30 p.m. is described as a preliminary and/or arraignment hearing.

Reached by phone, Olsonoski declined to comment and referred questions to his attorney, Lindsey Haugen. Haugen declined to comment for this story.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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