This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A 20-year-old Tremonton man was charged Friday with negligent homicide for allegedly causing a double fatality crash last year while driving and text-messaging on his cell phone.
Reggie P. Shaw was "driving while texting" on Sept. 22, when his sport utility vehicle drifted across the center line and side-swiped an oncoming vehicle driven by James A. Furfaro, 38, of Logan, according to a news release from the Cache County Attorney's Office.
Furfaro lost control of his vehicle, which spun into the other lane of traffic and was hit by an oncoming pickup truck.
Furfaro - an engineer who was on his way to work at ATK Launch Systems Group (formerly Thiokol) - died instantly.
Also killed was Furfaro's passenger, Keith P. Odell, 50, of North Logan, who also worked at ATK.
The 6:48 a.m. collision occurred two miles west of Logan on State Road 30. Shaw was eastbound, on his way to work in Logan; Furfaro and Odell were westbound.
Deputy Cache County Attorney Tony Baird said Shaw's cell phone records show he was sending and receiving text messages "from the time he left his home in Tremonton until the accident happened - about 20-plus minutes."
Baird declined to say who Shaw was texting with.
Shaw's last text message was sent at the time of the crash, followed moments later by an attempted 911 call, according to charging documents. Immediately following the crash, Shaw told a Utah Highway Patrol trooper his vehicle crossed the center line because it had hydroplaned on the wet road, according to charging documents.
But while talking to a second trooper, Shaw said he had no explanation for what happened.
The second trooper noticed that during his conversation with Shaw, he was continually receiving and sending text messages on his cell phone, according to charging documents
But when the trooper asked Shaw if he was talking on the cell phone or text messaging prior to the crash, Shaw denied any such activity, according to charging documents.
Investigators later subpoenaed Shaw's cell phone records, which led to the filing of criminal charges.
Shaw will receive a summons to appear in Logan's 1st District Court, prosecutors said. Negligent homicide is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Prosecutor Baird noted that a new Utah statute makes it a class C misdemeanor to commit a moving traffic violation while being distracted by using a wireless telephone.
"[Technology] is something you're going to see a lot more regulation on, in respect to driving," Baird said. "It's one of those things the public needs to educate itself about."
No state completely bans all types of cell phone use, handheld and hands-free, while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
And only Washington state has banned text-messaging while driving.