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DIGGING DEEPER: Police investigating if texting while driving caused deadly crash

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TUCSON - Two people died in a recent crash in Oro Valley, Ariz. and investigators are trying to figure out if the driver who caused the crash was texting.

The Digging Deeper Team uncovered a seven-page court document that asked a judge to have Verizon Wireless turn over the records of the driver who Oro Valley Police said caused the collision. 

The incident happened on Nov. 13 on Shannon Road between Lambert Lane and Naranja Drive.

Investigators said two people in an Acura lost their lives.

The driver of a GMC pickup was taken to the hospital, he survived. 

The driver of a Buick was not hurt.

Detectives said that the driver of the Buick rear-ended the Acura, pushing it into the path of the GMC truck.

Oro Valley Police received the 911 call at 3:42 p.m.

“That investigation is still active," Sgt. Carmen Trevizo told News 4 Tucson. "We recently served a search warrant on a phone so we are just waiting for that information to come back and then evaluate that information."

The warrant said the driver of the Buick told officers she was not distracted. She even showed officers her cell phone. 

The most recent text message was six minutes before the crash. 

However, the next day, a person close to the driver contacted detectives and gave the following information:

At 3:40 p.m., he got a text from the driver. He replied – and the message was time stamped 3:41. 

Five days after the crash, the Buick driver voluntarily talked to detectives, and admitted to messaging the person, but her phone showed the last message was dated Nov. 10.

The driver gave the phone to the detective.

Two days later, the person acquainted with the driver sent the detective a list of all their previous messages – including the day of the crash. 

The detective said he saw a message from the driver at 3:39 p.m., and a reply one minute later. 

That was just two minutes before the 911 call.

Sergeant Trevizo said the victim's families want answers.

“We want to do diligence on their part and look at all facets to include distracted driving in this case,” Trevizo told News 4 Tucson.

Sergeant Trevizo said the department has highly trained officers who handle traffic collisions. 

Trevizo added, the trained officers are making it a point to check cell phones when there is a car crash.

“The big thing we want to get across to the public is just concentrate on your driving that is your only task," Trevizo said. "It's never worth it to check a text and then cause a collision where you could get injured or injure somebody else."

It could take weeks before the records come back from Verizon and the phone to be analyzed. 

As of now, no one has been charged. 

Paul Birmingham

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