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Driver of prisoner transport van gets probation in fatal crash

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The driver of a Pierce County prisoner transport van involved in a fatal crash near McClusky has been sentenced to nearly a year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $325 in court fees.

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick last week accepted the guilty plea of 58-year-old Geraldine Miller, of Towner, to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment in the Aug. 4 traffic death of 81-year-old Philemena Evenson, of Tacoma, Washington.

Miller's sentence also includes a deferred imposition, meaning if she doesn't violate terms of her probation, the conviction will be removed from her record.

No attorney was listed for Miller in court records. She declined comment to the Tribune.

Court documents alleged Miller "drove through a controlled intersection disregarding cross traffic on a high speed road which caused a crash to occur."

The charge against her was a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of nearly a year in prison and a $3,000 fine.

The $325 in administrative court fees was mandatory. Miller also must submit to fingerprinting. 

Evenson was a passenger in a GMC Savana that collided with the prisoner transport van at the intersection of state highways 14 and 200, between McClusky and Goodrich, the state Highway Patrol reported. The prison van failed to stop and yield the right of way at the intersection, authorities said.

Evenson was pronounced dead at a Bismarck hospital. The driver of the Savana, Jerry Evenson, 78, of Tacoma, also was taken to a Bismarck hospital.

The three people in the prison van were taken to hospitals in Rugby and Harvey. The patrol identified them as Miller; Michael Jacobs, 31, of Esmond; and Alejandro Fernandez, 36, an inmate at the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center in Rugby.

Miller and Jacobs are correctional officers with the Rugby jail. The van was en route from Bismarck to Rugby, according to the patrol. None of the people in the van suffered life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

Miller remains employed at the facility as a correctional officer, according to Jail Administrator Mike Graner. 

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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