Truck driver sentenced for fatally hitting DPS officer
The truck driver convicted of killing a DPS officer was sentenced for the crime.
He was looking at his cell phone while driving and smashed into the back of Officer Tim Huffman's patrol car just outside Yuma.
It's a bittersweet day for the family of Officer Tim Huffman; it wasn't the outcome that many had hoped for, but the family says they're satisfied with the sentence.
Jorge Espinoza was sentenced to six years in prison, but some think he deserved a harsher punishment.
The deadly crash was caught on camera, the truck's dashcam video shows Jorge Espinoza looking down, using his cell phone when he slammed into Officer Huffman.
The crash happened on I-8 near Yuma while Huffman was writing a report inside his patrol car.
Espinoza offered no words of comfort to the victims during the sentencing.
"He apologized to his family, and he apologized for breaking the law, but he did not apologize to the family. To me, it came across he was sorry that the accident happened, and he was sorry for what he did to his family, but he did not apologize to us," said Tammy and Tom Huffman.
Supporters of the Huffman's were disappointed with the outcome.
"I think that justice could've served better," said Jan Blaser Upchurch.
The court estimated Espinoza did not look up from his phone for at least a full minute. He was initially charged with second-degree murder, but jurors instead convicted him of the lesser charge of negligent homicide.
"Second-degree murder, or manslaughter would've been much more appropriate," said Upchurch.
"We believe the jury did not give the just verdict on it, we thought they didn't examine, or go through it enough to know what the true charges are," said Warren Huffman.
The direct of DPS was in Yuma for the sentencing; he says the tragedy underscores the deadly consequences of distracted driving.
"He is paying the incredible price for what he did, but not nearly the price the family paid by losing someone they loved and revered," said DPS Col. Frank Milstead.
Since his death, Huffman's family has been fighting to get Arizona lawmakers to pass a law banning the use of handheld devices such as cellphones to write, send, or read messages while driving. Lawmakers vetoed the latest attempt earlier this year.