A $20 traffic ticket has been issued to a 92-year-old woman who drove across the center line in northeastern North Dakota and hit two of four motorcycles heading the other way, killing a newlywed riding with her husband, authorities said.
"It was the charge that was fitting," said State Highway Patrol Capt. Kyle Ternes of the May 19 crash that also injured the woman's husband and required another motorcyclist to have a foot amputated. "We took our time ... and did a thorough investigation."
The ticket, for driving over the center line on May 19 near Fort Totten, was hand-delivered Monday by the Highway Patrol to Faith Mitzel, of Oberon, N.D., Ternes said.
The captain said there was no evidence that Mitzel was speeding or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. So, "absent negligence ... there was nothing of that nature that would make it appropriate for charges that are more serious," he said, adding that the Benson County attorney's office was involved and agreed with the decision.
Mitzel, who was unhurt, was returning home by herself after a visit to Spirit Lake Casino in Devils Lake, the Highway Patrol said.
Killed in the crash was Sheri Leidholt, 30, of Devils Lake, N.D. The driver of her motorcycle and her husband, James Leidholt, 37, was hospitalized and has since been discharged. They were married four days before the crash.
The other motorcyclist, Jason Hunter, 33, of Devils Lake, is now recovering at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn. According to his CaringBridge web page, Hunter has had 10 surgeries, including having a foot amputated.
"The 'phantom pain' is really freaky and annoying as all hell," he wrote on the web page over the weekend.