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Truck driver in fatal Arizona wreck accused of checking cellphone

Earlier this year, a tragic truck accident occurred on an Arizona highway, resulting in the death of a police officer. The accident happened when a large fuel tanker, driven by a 33-year-old man, plowed into a number of police and fire vehicles that were responding to a motor vehicle accident. The question in the days that followed was "what was the truck driver doing that prevented him from avoiding the accident?"

It appears we now know: the 33-year-old pulled out his cellphone so that he could peruse Facebook. Due to his distracted state, he was unable to see a police officer waving his arms trying to alert the driver to the upcoming accident scene. The officer got out of the way, but another police officer was killed in the truck accident.

The truck driver is facing a bevy of criminal charges, though he pleaded not guilty.

According to evidence in the case, the truck driver mounted his wallet over a dashboard camera that faced him, thus blocking the camera's view. Investigators believe this was done intentionally. Despite this fact, the man's cellphone can be seen flying around the truck cab after the collision. Prior to the crash, the 33-year-old was driving at a speed of about 65 miles per hour.

Distracted driving is amazingly negligent. Drivers who pull out their cell phone to read a text or play with an app will likely travel hundreds of feet between glances at their phone and the road. So much can change in this time -- and if they cause an accident, they can (and should) be held liable in civil court by the injured victims.

Source: ABC News, "Truck Driver Was on Facebook at Time of Fatal Crash, Cops Say," Daisha Riley and Suzan Clarke, Nov. 5, 2013

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