A driver who was looking at her cellphone when she struck and seriously injured a road construction worker in Anoka County will spend a month in detention.

Jordan L. Paulus, 21, of East Bethel, ran over Laura Elena Soto Silva, 34, of Fergus Falls, Minn., who was holding a sign near the intersection of 7th Street and 237th Avenue NE. in East Bethel about 1:10 p.m. when the incident occurred. Traffic had come to a stop.

Paulus told authorities she was looking at her phone as she drove. At the last second, she saw the stopped traffic and swerved to the right to avoid hitting the car in front of her. She steered onto the shoulder and struck Silva. The woman, a mother of six, was in a coma for two months.

Paulus pleaded guilty in District Court on Wednesday to reckless driving, a gross misdemeanor, and was sentenced by Judge Kristin Larson to 15 days of work release followed by another 15 days of electronic home monitoring.

She also will spend two years under supervised probation and must speak at least four times at schools about her case. Two months in jail was part of the sentence, but the judge stayed that time.

The County Attorney’s Office declined to file felony charges against Paulus. County Attorney Tony Palumbo said that a felony charge required the presence of “egregious driving conduct and negligence. … While the victim’s injuries were horrible … we do not believe we can prove felony-level charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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