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Truck driver sentenced for deadly I-29 crash near Grand Forks

Timothy Mack.jpg
Timothy Mack, right, sits with his attorney, Mark Friese, in Grand Forks County Court Monday, Oct. 28 during his sentencing. (Matt Henson, WDAY)
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GRAND FORKS — A judge has sentenced Timothy Mack of Castlewood, S.D., to 20 days in jail for a fiery Interstate 29 crash that killed one person in May 2018 just outside of Thompson, about 15 miles south of Grand Forks.

Mack pleaded guilty Monday, Oct. 28, to misdemeanor reckless endangerment for his part in the crash, which killed Wayne O'Connell, 57, of Shelly, Minn.

According to authorities, Mack was hauling cattle south on I-29 between Grand Forks and Thompson when he rear-ended a 1953 Ford pickup pulling a trailer full of wood. The pickup went airborne, landed off the road and exploded into flames.

An investigation, which included video, showed that a chunk of wood had flown off the back of the pickup, striking Mack's windshield, temporarily blinding him.

However, the investigation also showed that Mack had not rested long enough before getting behind the wheel of the semi, not getting much sleep over the two days before the crash.

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During Monday's sentencing, Grand Forks County District Judge Jay Knudson alluded to that fact, stating that he was "holding him (Mack) to a higher standard."

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