Truck driver using cell phone during collision
Officer Tim Huffman, 47, was killed on May 6 when an 18-wheeler driven by Jorge Espinoza, 33, plowed into Huffman’s patrol car and several other vehicles, including police and fire vehicles, on Interstate 8, about 40 miles east of Yuma, Arizona. Police and fire vehicles were already on site investigating a previous collision involving an elderly person. Huffman was sitting in his vehicle using his patrol car computer.
Espinoza, who pleaded not guilty, alleges he was looking over his shoulder at a passing truck when he suddenly felt a violent jolt from the crash, and that he never saw the multiple DPS and fire department vehicles on the roadway, or the officer frantically waving his arms trying to get his attention before he jumped out of the way.
But satellite-linked camera on his dashboard shows what appears to be Espinoza’s white, Samsung smart phone flying from his hand as he struck the first vehicle. A search of Espinoza’s cell phone records and a video from an in-dash camera reveal Espinoza was viewing pictures of provocatively dressed women on Facebook on his cell phone at the time of the collision.
Espinoza told police the use of cell phones while driving was strictly forbidden by his employer, and that he always followed policy.
The video also reveals a wallet had been “intentionally and neatly” placed in front of the camera, concealing Espinoza’s face and body. According to company policy, this was also prohibited.
Truck driver consistently used cell phone while driving
And according to Espinoza’s commercial driving logs and cell phone records that wasn’t the only time he had used his phone while driving.
Witness statements portray a catastrophic scene as Espinoza’s tractor-trailer rammed into the vehicle of first responders. According to one witness statement, the semi-truck was “tossing cars around like they were toys.”
Espinoza was not injured, but now faces 20 felony charges including second-degree murder.
Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC