Driver’s Texting Results in Fatal Turnpike Crash
Evan Griffiths, age 44, has been charged with vehicular homicide in an unusual chain of events that resulted in the death of a five-year-old and injuries to at least four other people in 2019. Griffiths was texting just before the crash and had been reported for reckless driving in the hour leading up to the crash. He now faces multiple felony counts including homicide and vehicular aggravated assault, multiple misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, and 10 summary traffic offenses, including speeding and careless driving.
Police say they received a report of a three-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes near mile marker 42.1. They received a second report of an additional two-car collision that occurred directly behind the initial wreck. Two safety vehicles were dispatched to alert drivers traveling toward the accidents that they needed to slow down and stop.
Following the crash, authorities received several calls about an erratic driver. Approximately an hour after the first crash, a report came in about a third, supposedly unrelated crash, about four miles from the original incidents in Lower Milford Township.
Law enforcement arrived at the scene of that crash and found several damaged vehicles including a tractor-trailer and a damaged concrete median. Griffiths was driving a company truck. He failed to slow as he approached an Acura and pushed that car into the back of a pickup truck. The truck spun, flipped, and hit the tractor-trailer and an SUV, both of which suffered minor damage.
Griffiths refused treatment. The driver and passengers in the Acura were taken to the hospital. A nine-year-old passenger suffered a broken eye socket, a 10-year-old girl was diagnosed with brain bleeding and spinal fractures, and the five-year-old, Esther Park, died.
Investigators determined that not only was Griffiths responsible for the 4 pm collision, he was also the driver reported for reckless driving earlier in the day. Witnesses say Griffiths was driving 75 mph on the shoulder, weaving between lanes, and driving down the middle of the highway.
Law enforcement officials took two cell phones from Griffiths. Both showed activity around the time of the accidents, despite him deleting the texts.
If you or a loved one is involved in an automobile collision and you believe there is a chance the other driver was texting (there is almost always a chance), you need to hire an attorney. He or she will secure the driver’s cell phone records for forensic analysis. Even if the driver deletes the text messages linked to the incident, it’s still possible to have the phone records analyzed and to determine if texting while driving was involved.
To learn more or to speak to an attorney who can help you, contact Heavens Law at 888.897.5377.