Jury selection winding down in homicide trial for Facebooking trucker

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Friday, January 16, 2015

Jury selection in the trial of a distracted truck driver accused of crashing into emergency vehicles and killing an Arizona police officer in 2013 is expected to conclude this week.

Jorge Espinoza, 34, is facing 20 felony charges including one count of second-degree murder, six counts of criminal damage and 13 counts of endangerment in connection with the May 6, 2013, crash that killed Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Tim Huffman, according to a report in the Yuma Sun.

At the time of the incident, Espinoza was reportedly using his cellphone to look at pictures of women on Facebook when he crashed into emergency workers on an Arizona interstate and killed Huffman.

The crash occurred on eastbound Interstate 8 in Yuma County, where Espinoza was driving an empty fuel tanker at 65 mph when he collided with three police cars and two fire trucks that were responding to an earlier crash on the interstate. Huffman was in his car when the crash occurred.

Espinoza initially told police he didn’t see the cars or DPS public safety captain directing traffic around a closed lane because he was looking in his mirror at a passing truck.

The crash received national media attention after a Nov. 1 report in The Arizona Daily Star included dashcam video that purportedly shows Espinoza looking at his cell phone at the time of impact.

The video in Espinoza’s rig shows both the view in the cab and of the roadway in the moments leading up to the crash. The video shows Espinoza’s phone fly out of his hand in the crash, although the view of the driver is initially obstructed by what appears to be a wallet.

The trial is expected to last about five weeks.

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