A driver who was texting as she drove into and killed an elderly man has been jailed for just four days.
Susan Ann Russo, a teacher, was spared a long sentence even though reading or sending texts while driving is illegal in Minnesota.
School bus driver Joseph Tikalsky, 79, died after he was struck by Russo’s car while collecting the morning newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Sentencing Russo, judge Mark Vandelist said he hoped she could become a force for change for distracted driving.
At the scene of the crash in New Prague, Minnesota last October, Russo told officers she was reading a text while driving and preparing to send one.
However, an investigation found no activity on her phone.
Mr Tikalsky, who did not need his job but kept working because he loved being with children, was wearing a reflective jacket at the time of the incident.
His youngest son Greg told the court in Le Seuer County that he is lobbying for tougher distracted driving laws.
He said: ‘We have to view distracted driving as we view drunk driving.’
Mr Tikalksy’s wife Emma Jean added: ‘I would wish the way he died might be an example to other drivers to forgo electronics and concentrate on driving.’
In court, Russo wept as she read a letter she had written to Mr Tikalsky, starting with ‘Dear Joe’.
She said her heart aches for him and his family every day and that she would trade places with him ‘in a heartbeat’ if she could.
Judge Vandelist sentenced Russo to four days in jail, to be served in two-day stints – with the first taking place happening on October 28, the anniversary of Mr Tikalsky’s death, and the second on the same date next year.
She was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service with Minnesotans for Safe Driving, put on probation for two years, and told to pay a $3,000 (£2,450) fine to be used for a billboard warning against distracted driving.