Semi truck driver in fatal Lake Elmo crash appears in court

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A semi truck driver is out of jail after being arraigned for his role in a deadly crash earlier this week in Lake Elmo.

After spending a night in the Washington County Jail, Samuel Hicks posted his bond Friday afternoon.

The 28-year-old semi driver said nothing as he left the law enforcement center.

Hicks is charged with criminal vehicular homicide for causing the horrific crash on Tuesday along Highway 36 in Lake Elmo. Prosecutors report that video evidence from on board his rig shows Hicks staring down at his cell phone for a full eight seconds before impact. He was said to be driving at 63 miles an hour. When confronted, Hicks reportedly told investigators he was texting with his girlfriend and looking at a house on Zillow, a real estate site.

Rob Bursik, a father of three and a local professor who owned his own greenhouse and garden center business in western Wisconsin was killed while he sat at a red light.

Hicks has hired veteran defense attorney Earl Gray. A courthouse source told Fox 9 Hicks’ employer is picking up the bill.

At the arraignment, prosecutors asked a judge to bar Hicks from driving any motor vehicle at all while the case plays out. A judge ruled that was an unreasonable request before setting bail.

“Some cases are more difficult than other cases,” said Gray. “I haven’t looked at this case long enough to make a decision about what we’re going to do in it.”

Gray told the court that Hicks' company will allow him to work in the firm's Eau Claire warehouse as this case plays out rather than getting back behind the wheel of a big rig.

Hicks is a father of two with no criminal record.

A prosecutor told Fox 9 Hicks faces potentially four years in prison if convicted.