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Arizona Department of Public Safety makes arrest in connection with the death of Officer Tim Huffman

Suspect booked on several charges, including manslaughter

Friday, May 10, 2013 -

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This afternoon, Detectives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety Vehicular Crimes Unit arrested 33-year-old Jorge Espinoza of Yuma and booked him into the Yuma County Jail on one count of manslaughter, 14 counts of endangerment and 7 counts of criminal damage in connection with the May 6 death of DPS Officer Tim Huffman.

No other information concerning the arrest, which was made at 5:30 p.m. today in Yuma, will be released at this time.

On May 6, 2013, at around 5:10 p.m., three Arizona Department of Public Safety officers assigned to District 4 were investigating an injury collision on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 8 at milepost 40, about 40 miles east of Yuma. The fire department had requested that the officers close the number-two lane to allow for the transport of the injured. A DPS Officer parked his patrol car with the emergency lights flashing on the number-two lane. Officer Tim Huffman’s patrol vehicle was parked a few feet away on the shoulder. Huffman was in his car writing a report on his in-car computer (MDC).

Moments later an empty tanker truck was traveling eastbound in the number-two lane of Interstate 8 heading towards the closure. Despite the flashing lights and attempts by an Officer to signal the truck driver, the semi-truck collided with the DPS Officer’s patrol vehicle in the number-two lane, and then struck Huffman’s vehicle which was parked in the emergency lane. The Officer whose car was in the number-two lane was able to jump out of the way moments before the crash. The force of the impact killed Huffman who was still inside his vehicle. The tanker also slammed into a pickup truck belonging to the fire department which was pushed into another DPS patrol vehicle that was not occupied. That patrol vehicle then struck the rear of a parked fire department truck.

The driver of the semi truck was Jorge Espinoza, 33, of Yuma. At the time of the crash, Espinoza was traveling from Yuma to Phoenix. He was not injured in the crash.

Huffman, who served as a member of the Arizona National Guard for many years in addition to his DPS service, was 47. He is survived by three siblings who live out of state. He joined DPS 14 years ago and was assigned to District 4, which is based in Yuma. With his death, Huffman became the 29th DPS officer to lose his life in the line of duty.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.