LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Police say a Pocahontas man involved in a crash last March that left a teen dead was texting behind the wheel.
Third Judicial Circuit Judge Harold Erwin found probable cause earlier this month to charge Joseph Huddleston, 32, with negligent homicide and use of a telecommunications device when driving. Both charges, according to the online documents, are misdemeanors.
The crash happened at 10:46 p.m. Friday, March 29, 2019, on U.S. Highway 67 just south of West Fulbright Avenue in Walnut Ridge.
According to the affidavit, Huddleston was northbound, traveling at a high rate of speed, when his Ford F-150 pickup truck crossed the center line and struck a Kia Spectra head-on, killing 16-year-old Eason Adams of Bono.
The affidavit stated Huddleston was returning from Jonesboro where he had attended an event at a local restaurant where alcohol had been served.
He was airlifted to Regional One Medical Center in Memphis before a legal blood draw could be completed; however, the investigator said he found a “large bottle of alcohol” in the front seat of Huddleston’s pickup.
Also, several other motorists, including an off-duty Missouri State Highway Patrol officer and an off-duty Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy, reported seeing Huddleston traveling at a high rate of speed and weaving all over the road prior to the crash.
The off-duty MSHP officer estimated that when Huddleston passed his car, he was traveling in the low- to mid-90s and “going from fog line to fog line, in a serpentine pattern, before striking Adams’ vehicle.”
Crash data downloaded from Huddleston’s truck, according to the court documents, indicated he was sending text messages at the time of the crash.
On Jan. 10, after reviewing the affidavit, Judge Erwin found probable cause to charge Huddleston and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce filed charges against Huddleston of negligent homicide and use of a communications device while driving on Jan. 16.
Huddleston is currently free on $25,000 bond awaiting his next court appearance on Tuesday, Jan. 28.