YUMA, Ariz. – The Yuma man found guilty of negligent homicide following the death of a local Arizona Highway Patrol Officer has been sentenced to six years behind bars.
36-year-old Jorge Espinoza was sentenced Wednesday morning in Yuma Superior Court by Judge David Haws. Espinoza was sentenced to five consecutive years for the felony counts and two consecutive six-month terms for the misdemeanors he was facing. Five of those years he will be in prison. He will then be transferred to jail to serve the rest of his sentencing.
The courtroom was packed with family members
A jury found Espinoza guilty of negligent homicide in February 2015, following the death of Officer Tim Huffman.
In February the jury also found Espinoza guilty on six other counts of endangerment, but not guilty on seven other charges of endangerment. The jury did find Espinoza guilty on all six counts of criminal damage.
Huffman was writing a report at an accident scene on Interstate 8 May 2013 when his patrol vehicle was struck in a multi-vehicle collision involving a tractor-trailer rig driven by Espinoza.
Prosecutors argued that Espinoza was distracted by looking at his cellphone. Espinoza’s defense said he was blinded by the sun and that DPS did not place adequate signage around the scene Huffman was at when he was writing the report.
Jurors began deliberating Tuesday afternoon and came down with the verdict Friday just after 10:30 a.m.