Phoenix, AZ- Truck driver Jorge Espinoza was facing murder charges in connection to a fatal accident that took the life of an Arizona Department of Safety Officer, but a jury found him guilty of negligent homicide instead.
Espinoza’s trial, which began in early February, ended after a few days do testimony and resulted in one conviction of negligent homicide and six convictions for endangerment, according to Arizona Central.
Espinoza was traveling on 1-8 in Yuma in May of 2013 when he slammed into a patrol car sitting on the side of the road at the scene of a prior accident. Espinoza’s truck rammed into three police cars and two fire trucks.
Department of Public Safety Captain Tim Huffman was in one of those patrol cars writing up a report when Espinoza struck his vehicle. Emergency crews worked desperately to free him, but Huffman was pronounced dead on the scene.
During the course of an investigation, authorities found that Espinoza had been looking at his Facebook account and surfing the internet prior to the accident. Espinoza told investigators he never used his cell phone while he was behind the wheel of his rig, but dashcam footage from his truck showed otherwise and a search of his phone records indicated that he was using his cell phone at the time of the accident.
Espinoza’s defense team argued that he was blinded by the sun and said the Department of Public Safety did not utilize signs to warn other motorists of the accident scene, according to Arizona Central.
Under federal regulations, commercial truck drivers are forbidden from using their cell phones while they are behind the wheel. No motorist should be using their cell phone while driving and this especially true of commercial truck drivers who are in command of large and heavy vehicles that be extremely destructive. Accidents involving large commercial vehicles are twice as likely to be fatal than a passenger vehicle crash and costs Americans close to $20 billion each year, according to Trucking Info.net.
Truck accident victims who have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one should contact an Arizona truck accident attorney to discuss the details of their case and decide if they should pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim. An attorney with an understanding of Arizona personal injury laws will help you make an informed decision about your, giving you a better chance of presenting a successful injury claim.
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