Weston Sites, 15, was riding in the backseat of a Hyundai Tuesday and died after an allegedly distracted highway patrol officer was looking at his computer while driving and crashed into the vehicle.
According to multiple sources, the teenager was in a Hyundai, which was at a complete stop in a construction zone on Interstate 5. The California Highway Police officer was driving a mobile road enforcement truck, but was looking at his computer and did not notice the stopped traffic.
The 2013 Hyundai was being driven by a 17-year-old girl; the other passenger was the driver’s 14-year-old sister.
The CHP officer was unable to stop his vehicle in time to avoid the collision and hit the Hyundai, which subsequently pushed the teen’s car into two other vehicles, who were also stopped.
“The officer’s attention was diverted away from the road, looking down at, I believe his computer,” said CHP Sgt. Tony Odell.
Sites was pronounced dead at the scene, the two other teenagers were taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico, California. The driver and her sister suffered minor injuries and were later released. The officer sustained minor injures.
Distracted driving is one possible cause of the crash, but Assistant Police Chief Todd Gar said there may be other components in this investigation. No premature assumptions should be made right now.
CHP officers said a separate investigation team will handle the collision investigation to determine the officer’s actions leading up to and at the time of the crash.
If the officer is at fault, the investigation findings will be sent to the Glenn County District Attorney’s office for possible charges.