Truck Driver on Facebook Leading up to Deadly Collision
Case files obtained by the Arizona Republic Friday allege that truck driver Jorge Espinoza, 33, was using his phone to browse Facebook moments before colliding with multiple police and fire vehicles and killing one person.
Semi Truck Slams into Emergency Vehicles Killing DPS Officer
- On May 6, police and fire fighters were at the scene of an accident approximately 40 miles east of Yuma, Arizona when a tractor-trailer barreled into multiple DPS vehicles.
- Among the vehicles struck was that of Arizona Department of Public Safety officer Tim Huffman. Huffman, 47, was in his patrol car at the time using the vehicle's computer.
- Emergency responders had to use the “jaws of life” to extract Huffman who was trapped between his seat and the dashboard. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Espinoza told police that his company has a strict policy prohibiting cell phone use while driving which he follows.
- Espinoza instead claimed that he never saw the DPS vehicles and officers, including an officer who had to jump out of the way of the tractor-trailer after attempting to get Espinoza’s attention, as he was looking over his shoulder at a passing truck.
Video Footage Shows Truck Driver on His Phone
- Contrary to Espinoza's statement, video footage from his truck's dashboard camera appears to show Espinoza manipulating his phone in the seconds preceeding the fatal collision.
- A police search warrant affidavit references a wallet that was placed “intentionally and neatly” in the camara's line of to block Espinoza's face, body and actions.
- A detective investigating Espinoza's phone found that the driver was using Facebook to browse photos of provocatively dressed women when he struck the DPS vehicles.
- Comparisons of Espinoza’s cell phone records and commercial driving logs indicated other incidents in which the truck driver used his cell phone while behind the wheel.
- Espinoza is now facing 20 felony charges including second-degree murder in connection to the death of Officer Huffman. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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