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Police officer killed; struck by vehicle during traffic stop

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Posted at 7:10 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 09:27:43-05

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities say the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a police officer on a Phoenix-area freeway was texting before the wreck and has been arrested.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says 40-year-old Jerry Sanstead of Scottsdale told investigators that he was texting before his vehicle struck Salt River Police Department Officer Clayton Townsend as Townsend stood in the emergency lane next to another vehicle he'd pulled over Tuesday evening.

According to a DPS statement, a witness said the driver who struck Townsend was looking down at his phone and crossed two traffic lanes before the wreck.

Sanstead was jailed on suspicion of manslaughter, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and endangerment.

It's not known whether Sanstead has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.