Clayton Townsend's family speaks out on texting and driving

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - "This has to stop, I'm reminded every single day," Bete Johnson said. I look at my grandson and since Clayton passed away, he's had his first birthday, first steps... learn to communicate without his dad because somebody else made a bad decision."

Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend was killed during a traffic stop in January. He was hit on the Loop 101 by a driver who told police he was texting his wife while behind-the-wheel.

Bete Johnson stood alongside his daughter and Townsend's widow, Deanna, today at the capitol as they honor the man who will always be near and dear to their hearts.

"I drive to work every day past the same place. I know what happened there. This has to stop," he said. "This is the second time I've gone through this with my family. I don't want to do it again."

Johnson, joined by Townsend's mother, says since Clayton's life was taken, he's watched his family change forever.

"Our prayers and hopes are that another family will ever have to endure what my daughter-in-law and grandson and our family and friends are going through," Toni Townsend said.

The family is aware Arizona remains one of just three states that doesn't have a statewide texting while driving ban. They say had a bill like HB2318 been signed into law, perhaps Clayton's life could have been saved along with the lives of many others.

"I watch what it's done to my grandson," Bete Johnson said. "I watch what it's done to my daughter every day. I see how it's impacted her life. I see how it's impacted mine and it could've been prevented."

House Speaker Rusty Bowers announced after a closed-door meeting of majority Republicans Wednesday that he would allow votes on three bills that are designed to deal with distracted driving caused by cell phone use.