- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

WEWOKA, Okla. (AP) - A man charged in a crash that killed one Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and injured another has been sentenced to five years in prison and seven years on probation.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1RXdFDJ ) reports that 30-year-old Steven Wayne Clark was sentenced Thursday, and was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. He had pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

Clark has spent most of the year in jail, and will receive credit for the time served.

Prosecutors say Clark was texting while driving Jan. 31 when he crashed into Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch, who were investigating a traffic accident on Interstate 40. Thirty-year-old Dees died at the scene and Burch was seriously injured.

Investigators say Clark had sent 69 text messages from his cellphone while driving from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and received 73 text messages.

Clark apologized to Dees’ family last week.

Seminole County District Judge George W. Butner said he labored over his decision, and that he tried to temper justice with mercy. Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 20 years in prison.

The incident led to a new state law making it illegal to read, compose or send texts while driving. The law is named for both Dees and Burch and went into effect Nov. 1.

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

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