PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Gov. Doug Ducey is signaling his support for a statewide texting and driving ban in the wake of a distracted-driving crash that killed a Salt River Police officer.

“There was talk of a bill last year of distracted driving,” Ducey told reporters Wednesday. “Had that gotten to my desk, I would have signed it. I want to make sure that we prevent and avoid this type of tragedy in the future.”

The driver involved in Tuesday evening’s crash, 40-year-old Jerry Sanstead, told detectives he was texting when he struck and killed Ofc. Clayton Townsend, who had pulled over another driver on the Loop 101 in Scottsdale.

[RELATED: Texting and driving: Should Arizona ban it?]


Former Republican State Sen. Bob Worsley says he hopes that this tragedy will spark change in the legislature.

Arizona, along with Missouri and Montana, is one of the only states in the country allowing texting behind the wheel. Arizona only has a cellphone use ban for drivers under 18.

There have been several attempts for a more comprehensive ban, but those failed.

“It’s very embarrassing,” said former Republican State Sen. Bob Worsley, who pushed for a texting ban. “I sat through many sad stories in my committee listening to parents, listening to family members who lost loved ones.”

[RELATED: Yavapai County adopts texting ban while proponents push for state uniformity]

Worsley says he hopes that this tragedy will spark change in the legislature.

“I think there should be a bill introduced that would maybe do what we were trying to do last year,” Worsley said. “Honor Ofc. Clayton Townsend.”

It’s a feeling echoed by family members who have lost loved ones to distracted driving.

Jody Kieran says the redlight runner who struck and killed her daughter, Pamela Hesselbacher, and injured her grandchildren back in 2016 was using Facebook on his phone at the time of the crash.


Jody Kieran says the red-light runner who struck and killed her daughter, Pamela Hesselbacher.

Kieran says her heart breaks for Townsend’s family.

“This was not ever a club that I wanted to be a part of,” Kieran said. “And I don’t want the club to even exist.”


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


So how about it Kern and the rest of you 'geniuses' at the state legislature, are you going to keep digging your heels in on this issue that's causing numerous deaths and severe injuries to Arizonans? Or, are you going to ban texting while driving to save lives in Arizona and make Arizona a better and safer place? You should ban ALL hand held device usage while driving so the people who are stupid enough to 'text' while driving can't slide through the law by saying they weren't texting but they were on Facebook or some other form of social media or cell phone use when they caused a crash. This should also be a primary violation so they can be pulled over for it; not a secondary violation. The fines and penalties should be stricter and higher than speeding fines since this is more dangerous than speeding. A cell phone usage while driving ban needs to NOT be under "distracted driving".
That is too vague. The cell phone usage while driving ban needs to be in it's in category with it's own specific wording so there is no misunderstanding about it; because it's that serious.
Lives would have been saved if you guys would have passed this law last year. Remember when it was presented to you last year and you refused to pass it? I do. This is a quote from you when you voted against the ban last year right Kern, ""This is the proverbial nose under the camel's tent," said Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, as he voted "no."" Maybe we could put that quote on a billboard along the 101 where an officer was obliterated by a vehicle two day ago, a vehicle driven by a person who was texting, using a hand held device, while driving.
Save lives and make Arizona a better place; pass this law.

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