A semi-truck driver who earlier this year caused a six-vehicle crash in Arizona that resulted in the deaths of five people was on his phone and "actively using" TikTok just before the accident, officials said on Thursday. Danny Tiner, 36, has been charged with several felonies related to the incident.
The car wreck happened on Jan. 12 shortly after 6 a.m. Tiner, who was driving eastbound on Interstate 10, told police he had "received a message on his electronic work tablet and acknowledged the message" and then when he looked back at the road, "he could not stop his vehicle in time to avoid a collision."
An earlier incident report states that Tiner ended up hitting two passenger vehicles, wedging them into the back of another commercial truck. That truck was then pushed forward and hit two more cars.
"The two passenger vehicles crushed between the semi-trucks ignited and burst into flames," the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in January. "The fire spread to the at-faults and trailer, and to the second commercial truck's box trailer."
The incident happened in an area where traffic was already stopped from a separate car accident that occurred hours earlier and involved three commercial trucks, one of which had also rear-ended other vehicles.
Five people – Ryan Gooding, Andrew Standifird, Jerardo Vazquez, Willis Thompson and Gilberto Franco – were killed in the accident caused by Tiner.
Upon further investigation, the Department of Public Safety said on Thursday that they found Tiner, whose commercial truck was hauling an open-top box trailer filled with garbage, had been speeding prior to the accident and was distracted while doing so.
"The investigation revealed Tiner was traveling 68 mph in the posted 55-mph construction zone and was actively using the TikTok application on his cell phone at the time of the collision," the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. That information was found after Tiner turned his cell phone over to officials and a forensic examination was conducted through his device.
Tiner has since been charged with 10 felony charges related to the incident, including five counts of manslaughter, four counts of endangerment and one count of tampering with physical evidence.
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