A Bismarck man has been charged with manslaughter after a fatal crash last July on Interstate 94.
Timothy McLaughlin, 24, was driving a commercial motor vehicle westbound on July 15, 2020, when it crashed into two other vehicles that had slowed due to another crash on the road, according to an affidavit the North Dakota Highway Patrol filed earlier this month. The incident occurred east of Bismarck near Sterling.
The delay between the crash and the charge stems in part from the time it took authorities to reconstruct the incident, Lt. Steven Johnson said.
The investigation indicated that McLaughlin had not braked before the crash, and that he had been distracted by his cellphone, according to the document. He had been using his phone to search the internet for "adult material," as well as for text messaging and GPS navigation leading up to the crash, the affidavit alleges.
A 52-year-old woman, MariKay Mathes of Chilton, Wisconsin, died after McLaughlin's truck hit the vehicle she was in, according to the patrol.
McLaughlin also was charged with two counts of misdemeanor aggravated reckless driving, as two other occupants of vehicles involved in the crash required medical care for injuries they suffered, according to the affidavit.
McLaughlin made an initial appearance in South Central District Court on Monday. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
A total of seven people were injured in the two separate but related crashes, which involved a total of five vehicles -- an SUV, an SUV towing a trailer, two cars and McLaughlin's cube van truck, according to the patrol. In the initial crash, the two SUVs collided and went into the median, with one overturning onto its side.
Reach Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.