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Oklahoma: • Texting driver sentenced to prison in death of state trooper

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Cushing man who struck and killed an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper while driving on Interstate 40 east of Shawnee earlier this year was sentenced Thursday in Seminole County District Court.

Steven Wayne Clark, 30, was sentenced to 12 years with the Department of Corrections, with five years to be served in prison and seven years out on probation.

Clark pleaded guilty to the felony manslaughter count back in August.

Investigators said Clark, who was driving through Seminole County Jan. 31, was distracted by his cell phone when he struck and killed Trooper Nicholas Dees and injured Trooper Keith Burch. The troopers, along with other first responders, were working the scene of another accident when they were hit.

A new law banning texting while driving in Oklahoma was passed during the spring legislative session following the trooper’s death and is named for both Dees and Burch. That legislation became a state law on Nov. 1.

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