Motorcycle Accident Could Inspire Distracted Driving Laws

On Wednesday, July 25, Phil Sorenson rode his motorcycle for the last time. Brent O’Neal, a 21-year-old driver, was driving 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to Sioux Falls police. In addition to driving 30 mph over the speed limit, he was texting. O’Neal hit three cars before crashing into Sorenson’s motorcycle, and then hit a light pole. He attempted to flee the scene on foot, but police apprehended him soon after the accident.

Sorenson, 33, died at the hospital the following day, while other drivers sustained minor injuries.


O’Neal, who turned 21 while in police custody, had a long list of traffic offenses prior to this accident. He has received six speeding tickets, one conviction for driving under the influence and three prior citations for careless driving.

Now, he faces first- and second-degree manslaughter, felony hit and run charges and another careless driving charge. If convicted, he could face a life sentence in prison.

New Laws?

South Dakota is one of 11 states in the country without a ban on texting while driving. All but four of the states that have banned texting while driving have primary enforcement. That means a police officer can pull you over if they suspect you of texting while driving.

Sioux Falls City Council members are attempting to pass a city ban on texting while driving in the wake of this tragedy. City council will discuss the ordinance on August 10. State legislature banning texting and driving has been voted down the past few years. In our next posts, we will discuss how distracted driving affects motorcyclists.

Were you injured in a motorcycle accident? If so, visit our website to learn more about motorcycle accidents and give us a call to discuss your accident. We do not charge for the first consultation.

The Metier Law Firm, LLCDenver injury attorneys

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