Arizona police: Officer killed by person texting while driving

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — An Arizona police officer was killed in a crash on Tuesday, KNXV reported.

According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the officer stopped a vehicle about 6 p.m. While out standing with that vehicle, the officer was hit by a passing vehicle, which then hit the vehicle the officer had stopped.

The driver who killed the officer, identified as 40-year-old Jerry Sanstead, admitted to authorities that he was texting while driving, according to a release Wednesday morning.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the Salt River Police Department officer, later identified as Clayton Townsend, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly after 6:30 p.m.

In a briefing Tuesday night, Townsend was described by Salt River Police Chief Karl Auerbach as “one of the most dedicated, loyal and committed officers” who left behind a wife and a 10-month-old child.

He had been with the department for five years.

Tributes from other Arizona law enforcement agencies started shortly after news broke of the officer’s death.

Sanstead was brought into custody on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and endangerment.

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