A truck driver was looking at his cell phone — specifically at Facebook "photographs of several women in provocative positions, wearing little clothing" — when he plowed into three police cruisers and two fire trucks, killing one officer, records show.
The truck driver, Jorge Espinoza, is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes for his role in the Interstate 8 wreck in Yuma County, Ariz. on May 6 in which Officer Tim Huffman was killed, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Espinoza was also looking at Facebook photographs "of a woman in a low cut dress" and a man "smoking something" around the time of impact, according to records; on other occasions Espinoza used his phone to look at female escort web pages, porn sites and other web pages when logged in as driving, investigators said.
The investigation report was made public Thursday after a Daily Star public records request.
Espinoza was driving his empty fuel tanker at 65 mph with the cruise control activated at the time of the crash, records show, and at first told investigators he didn't see the police cars because he was looking in his mirror at a passing truck
Espinoza also told investigators he never uses his phone while driving because it's against company policy, but information taken from his phone indicates Espinoza was indeed using the Internet at the time of the crash.
In fact, dashcam video shows Espinoza's Samsung Galaxy 3 phone fly out of his hand when the crash occurred, the Star reported.
Notice the white rectangular object in midair in the top-left portion of the screengrab, just after Espinoza hits Officer Huffman's cruiser. (Image source: Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube)
The report added that Espinoza apparently tried to obscure the fact that he was looking at his phone by standing up his wallet in front of the dashcam, police say.
In the image below, notice the wallet that obscures Espinoza’s face and most of his body just before the crash; Officer Huffman’s cruiser is just ahead:
Officer Huffman, who had responded to an earlier accident on the highway, was sitting in his patrol car when Espinoza's truck slammed into it. Emergency workers who were with Huffman pulled the windshield and dash off his car to try to help him, and a Jaws of Life tool was taken from one of the wrecked fire trucks, but Huffman died in the patrol car, reports indicate.
"Espinoza would have been able to perceive the danger in the roadway and not cause the death of Officer Tim Huffman, endangered the lives of 11 other emergency responders and destroyed six vehicles, including a new semi-tractor and trailer owned by his employer, if he had not chosen to distract himself while accessing Facebook from his cellular telephone while operating his assigned commercial vehicle," investigators noted.
Here's Espinoza's dashcam video showing the moment of impact inside the truck and outside facing the police cruisers and fire trucks, from the Arizona Department of Public Safety via YouTube:
(H/T: Arizona Daily Star)