Dash cam video shows deadly DPS crash

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by Kristine Harrington

Bio | Email | Follow: @kharrington3tv

azfamily.com

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 12:15 PM

PHOENIX  -- The driver of an empty fuel tanker was using his cell phone to look at photos of women on Facebook when he crashed into three police cars and two fire trucks on Interstate 8 last May, killing an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer, according to police records.

Officer Tim Huffman was killed May 6, and the truck driver, Jorge Espinoza, is charged with second degree murder.

According to more than 600 pages of investigative reports obtained by 3TV, Espinoza was driving 65 miles per hour on cruise control when the crash happened. He told police he never saw the multiple DPS and fire department vehicles on the roadway, or an officer frantically waving his arms trying to get his attention before he jumped out of the way.

Espinoza also told investigators he never used his cell phone while driving because that is against company policy, but a camera on the dashboard of his truck shows his Samsung Galaxy 3 phone fly out of his hand in the crash.

The camera's view is partly obstructed by his wallet, which investigators believe was placed there intentionally to conceal the fact he was on his phone.

According to the documents Espinoza was "looking at photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing, photographs of a woman in a low cut dress," and photos of a man "smoking something."

Records also show this isn't the first time Espinoza used his cell phone while driving. According to driving logs, Espinoza also looked at YouTube, female escort web pages, porn sites and social networks while working.

But it's not so much what he was looking at that has people frustrated, it's what he wasn't looking at, and that's the road ahead. And that's the reason why some lawmakers are looking for ways to limit the use of your smart phone behind the wheel.

"You are seeing how stupid it was and how preventable it was, just going cruise control 65 into the back of a police car in the middle of your lane," said Arizona State Senator Steve Farley. "It's not that this truck driver intended to be a murderer, but it's this device and use of this device that turns us all into murderers if we decide to do it."

Senator Farley has proposed a ban on texting while driving every year since 2007, and every year it has failed. He plans to try for an eighth time in January and hopes this tragedy helps change the law.

"We do have reckless driving and speeding laws, but you are considered speeding if not going a reasonable or prudent speed," he says. "Well, what speed is reasonable or prudent when texting or using the internet? That speed is zero," said Sen. Farley.

Still, other lawmakers don't believe much can be done to stop people from using their smart phones while driving.

"Let's face it. If you outlaw texting while driving next thing you know they will text down here because they don't want to get a ticket as they rear-end a van full of kids," said Rep. Sonny Borrelli.  "If people were responsible we wouldn't be coming to the legislature to fix things.

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