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Judge won't dismiss manslaughter charge in SF texting case

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SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A judge has refused to dismiss a first-degree manslaughter charge against a Sioux Falls man accused of fatally injuring a motorcyclist while speeding and texting.

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Authorities allege that Brent O'Neal caused a five-vehicle chain-reaction crash on July 25, 2012, that killed 33-year-old motorcyclist Philip Sorensen. O'Neal is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter, hit-and-run and reckless driving.

Defense attorney Traci Smith says the case does not rise to the level of first-degree manslaughter, which alleges that O'Neal killed Sorensen "by means of a deadly weapon."

Judge Mark Salter refused to dismiss the charge, though a jury still will have the ability to rule that first-degree manslaughter doesn't fit the case.

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