Texting driver gets 4 days in jail for killing New Prague bus driver, under plea deal

A New Prague, Minn. woman accused of texting while driving in a crash that killed a 79-year-old man who was picking up his newspaper will serve just 4 days in jail after a reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Susan Ann Russo, 48, pleaded guilty Tuesday to reckless driving and misusing a wireless device. Under the plea agreement, Le Sueur County prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 4 days in jail and 2 years of probation

Joseph Tikalsky, 79, was struck and killed last October as he crossed County Road 29 to grab his newspaper just after 7:35 a.m. A long-time New Prague School District bus driver, Tikalsky was on break from his route and wearing a reflective vest at the time of the crash. It was dark and rainy at the time of the crash, but the criminal complaint said “Russo was distracted and not paying attention to the roadway ahead of her due to cell phone use.”

Russo’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17.