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Texting driver gets 9 years in prison for fatal Sioux Falls crash

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A southeast South Dakota man accused of fatally injuring a motorcyclist while speeding and texting has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Twenty-two-year-old Brent O'Neal was sentenced Tuesday in Sioux Falls. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in December.

O'Neal was arrested in July 2012 after causing a five-vehicle chain-reaction crash that killed 33-year-old motorcyclist Philip Sorensen.

O'Neal revealed in a jailhouse conversation with a visitor after his arrest that he was texting and driving that night while trying to make plans for his 21st birthday. He tried to have the statements tossed out of court but a judge denied the motion.

The judge in Minnehaha County sentenced O'Neal to 20 years in prison, but suspended 11.

O'Neal offered his "deepest apologies" to Sorensen's family during the hearing.

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