PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Department of Public Safety released a 254-page report detailing their investigation into the crash that killed Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend.

Townsend was conducting a traffic stop on Jan. 8, 2019, on Loop 101 near McDowell Road when another car hit him and the vehicle he had pulled over. Townsend was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead nine minutes after his arrival due to head trauma.

Jerry Sanstead was arrested shortly after the collision and is facing charges of aggravated assault, manslaughter, and endangerment. Sanstead admitted to detectives that he was texting his wife about evening plans right before the crash.

[WATCH: Documents indicate man accused of hitting, killing AZ officer might have passed out]

According to the newly released documents, Sanstead had his cruise control set at 65 mph, and witnesses saw him drive by them with his convertible top down just seconds before the crash. Witnesses said they could see the blue and red lights on the shoulder of the highway from far away, but Sanstead said he never saw them.

The witnesses also said they saw Sanstead's left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand down by the center console where his phone was, according to the report. Sanstead told officers that he was using talk-to-text to write messages to his wife, but had to look at his phone to read her responses.

According to the report, Sanstead told investigators that he was in the middle of a cleanse but felt well enough to work although his stomach was hurting in the morning. He said he wasn't sure if he passed out because he couldn't remember the collision. Sanstead told a detective that he was "kind of on autopilot." He also said, "I rear-ended somebody; I don't even know who I rear-ended," according to the report.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Driver who hit, killed Salt River officer while allegedly texting posts bond]

A driver and four passengers from a white van pulled over to render aid immediately after watching the crash take place. They said Townsend showed "no signs of life" and they asked the other driver who was hit and injured to stay in the car. When they asked Sanstead if he was injured, he said he would be OK once he found his phone, according to the report.

Sanstead admitted to seeing Townsend laying on the ground but did not tend to him. He said he called his wife to tell her what happened.

Sanstead was interviewed by an officer on the scene of the crash. The officer noted that Sanstead did not appear to be intoxicated. Sanstead told the officer his chest and tongue hurt from the crash.

Sanstead was taken to the hospital for treatment and then was taken to the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix. According to the report, Sanstead had a seizure while being booked into the jail and was transported back to a hospital. The nurse told the officer who was watching Sanstead that the injury on his tongue was consistent with having a seizure, the report said.

The medical records that are included in the 254-page report are completely redacted due to HIPAA laws.

The report also details how officers reenacted what led up to the crash using witness accounts.

Investigators collected data from Sanstead's phone, but the findings were not in the report.

The case was submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office last month and is currently under review for a charging decision.

Sanstead's attorney did not immediately respond for a request for a comment.


WATCH: Jerry Sanstead's initial court appearance

WATCH: Mom of officer killed by distracted driver speaks out

WATCH: Law enforcement honors officer killed on Loop 101



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



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(11) comments


Whats the big deal sheet happens


Repeal law preventing cellphone use while driving!


and repeal those drunk driving laws, too. Were you born an idiot or did you work really hard at becoming one?

Curious George

My condolences to the family of the officer that was killed. I don’t understand why it would take 254 pages to report the circumstances of the accident though.


Read it and enlighten yourself.


Obviously no one is going to bother actually reading the article or the report and focus solely on "texting," so they will miss some important facts: First, the driver had multiple seizures including one around the time of the accident. According to witnesses, he was alert immediately after the crash and was seen alert prior to the crash, so the seizure was likely the cause of the crash. Using talk-to-text is legal even under the new law that prohibits texting while driving. In fact the law specifically states that such conduct is legal.


I see idiots texting in their cars all the time....that’s why I have an illegal cell phone signal blocker in my should see the looks when their signal drops! Priceless!


Need to carry that blocker into restaurants and churches.


No you dont dummy. You are a fool


You should get an extra ticket for pulling over on the freeway instead of heading to the next exit.


Just a normal guy who changed people’s lives forever. Carelessness without criminal intent can have devastating consequences. “Autopilot”... if one can’t focus on driving they certainly shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Praying for all of those involved in this tragedy.

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