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Woman charged in crash that killed cross-country bicyclist

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CORDELL, Oklahoma — A woman accused of crashing into a bicyclist with her vehicle while looking at her cellphone has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/1OncnyZ ) reports that 34-year-old Sarah Morris was also charged Thursday with overtaking a bicycle.

Prosecutors said Morris struck and killed 25-year-old Patrick Wanninkhof as he was riding on State Highway 152 in July. The New York high school teacher was cycling with about two dozen others for the nonprofit Bike and Build, which sends cyclists across the country to help organizations build affordable homes for people in need.

Prosecutors said Morris did not give Wanninkhof the required three feet of space while she was driving and failed to see the cyclists in time to avoid hitting them.

Washita County District Attorney Angela Marsee said Morris cannot be prosecuted under current state law regarding texting while driving because the incident happened before Nov. 1, when the law went into effect. It is also unclear if Morris was texting at the time of the incident.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Morris. Her bail has been set at $100,000.

An attorney listed as representing Morris did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press.

"It doesn't feel like great news, but it does feel like there is a sense of justice and there will be accountability, and I think that's where I take a lot of comfort," said Wanninkhof's father, Rik.

Rik Wanninkhof said his son's memory has been honored by the New York Teachers Union and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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