updated 9/29/2009 12:16:11 PM ET 2009-09-29T16:16:11

A Southern California man accused of killing a pedestrian while driving and text messaging has been ordered to stand trial for gross vehicular manslaughter.

Superior Court Commissioner James Odriozola denied a defense motion Monday to lessen the charge to a misdemeanor after determining there was evidence the crash was caused by more than ordinary carelessness.

Authorities say Martin Kuehl struck and killed nanny Martha Ovalle as she walked in an Orange County crosswalk on Aug. 29, 2008.

Odriozola noted that Kuehl did not send or receive texts at the exact time of the crash but did have his cell phone in his hand and had been texting back and forth with a friend prior to the crash.

Kuehl could face up to nine years in prison if convicted.

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