- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2020

PHOENIX (AP) - A Maricopa County grand jury has indicted a driver in last year’s death of a Salt River police officer who was struck by a car.

Authorities said Jerry Sanstead Jr. is accused of manslaughter in the January 2019 death of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend.

The 42-year-old Sanstead has been summoned to appear in court on Dec. 17.

Townsend was conducting a traffic stop on the Loop 101 freeway when another car hit him and the vehicle he had pulled over.

He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Sanstead told authorities he was texting his wife about evening plans right before the crash.

He also said he was using talk-to-text to write messages to his wife, but had to look at his phone to read her responses.

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