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Man avoids murder charge in bicyclist’s death

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ A Springfield man has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the death of a bicyclist who was hit by a car that was fleeing from him.

A plea agreement reached last week allowed 24-year-old Blake Basten to avoid a conviction for felony murder. Instead, he was given a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Police say 23-year-old Zachary Gibson died last November when he was hit by a car being driven by 32-year-old Shannon Smith, who was being chased by Basten. Smith pleaded guilty earlier this year to leaving the scene of an accident.

The Springfield News-Leader reports Smith told police she was speeding to get away from Basten, her ex-boyfriend. She said Basten had a gun and she was hoping police would stop her.