Texting driver sentenced for role in death

Published 6:45 pm Saturday, April 28, 2012

A 23-year-old New Richland woman was sentenced last week to 120 days in jail for texting while driving, which ultimately caused a crash that killed a man.

According to court records, Erica Ann Nelson will complete 60 of those days in the Waseca County jail starting May 6. The remainder will be spent in Sentence to Service.

Nelson pleaded guilty in February to one count of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the death of Ronald Berschman of Buffalo Center, Iowa, on Aug. 29, 2010.

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According to court documents, Nelson was driving eastbound on Highway 30 east of New Richland, when she crossed over the center line and hit westbound Berschman, who was riding a 2010 Harley-Davidson.

Berschman died from the injuries.

The roadway is a two-lane undivided highway with a speed limit of 55 mph. Nelson was traveling 73 mph, according to the Waseca County News.

The newspaper reported Nelson wrote a text message at 2:02 p.m. that day that lasted for one minute. The radio log for Waseca County Dispatch stated the first entry for the crash was made at 2:03 p.m.

If Nelson violates her probation, she faces a 41-month term in prison.