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Distracted AZ truck driver surfing Facebook kills police officer in horrible truck wreck

Written by Steve Gursten Posted January 16th, 2014

Trucker was caught on camera using his cell phone, allegedly looking and photos of scantily clad women

I recently filed suit in the Superior Court of Arizona regarding one of the most horrific crashes I have ever had the misfortune of coming across.

This past May, in southwestern Arizona, Officer Tim Huffman was investigating the scene of a car accident when a distracted truck driver
barreled into his squad car at 65 MPH. Sadly, officer Huffman was killed. The trucker, 33-year-old Jorge Espinoza, initially told investigators that he looked away from the road momentarily to observe a passing semi-truck before causing this accident. His distracted driving caused the truck accident as he ran into three police squad cars and two fire trucks that were investigating the scene.

Despite Mr. Espinoza’s claims, a subsequently discovered dash cam video revealed what he was really doing leading up to the crash.

The chilling video revealed that Espinoza was actually looking at his cell phone in the seconds leading up to the horrible truck crash. Even more angering is the fact that the truck driver tried to conceal his cell phone use by blocking his dash cam with his wallet. However, after examining the dash cam video, Mr. Espinoza’s cell phone can be seen flying from his hands after he collides with the first police car:

And by the way, this was not the first time that Espinoza used his cell phone while behind the wheel of a semi-truck. He initially told law enforcement that he never uses his phone while driving, and that it’s against company policy. But this was a flat out lie. Records indicated that Mr. Espinoza used his cell phone many, times while driving his big-rig. He visited Facebook, various websites, and search engines. In fact, these same records indicated that at the time of this horrible truck accident, Mr. Espinoza was allegedly on Facebook looking at pictures of scantily clad women.

This truck accident is infuriating — a police officer is dead essentially because the driver was inexcusably driving a huge truck while looking at Facebook while behind the wheel.

Mr. Espinoza is facing 20 criminal charges stemming for this terrible truck accident. Among his numerous charges is one count of second degree murder for killing Officer Huffman.

My sincere hope is that this crash serves as a wake up call to all truck drivers and trucking companies. A semi-truck — even when it is not loaded — is extremely dangerous. It takes a high degree of skill to safely operate a big-rig. Truckers must be attentive and alert — not doing other things in the cab that will take their eyes off of the road.

But if truckers like Mr. Espinoza do not care about safety, maybe they will care about going to jail, like this truck driver did after killing three people due to distracted driving and other violations.

Related information:

Steep penalties for truckers who text and drive

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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