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Trooper finds child pornography on truck driver’s phone after crash, charges say

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Oct. 27, 2020 at 8:46 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A long-haul truck driver from Indiana involved in a crash over the weekend is now accused of possessing child pornography.

John William Ellsworth, 60, was charged Monday in Sevier County's 6th District Court with three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

On Saturday, a semitruck hit a rock that was in the road on I-70 near Richfield, causing it to tip onto its side.

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper that responded to the crash noted that the semi driver, Ellsworth, "seemed difficult and unsettled" and refused to sit in his patrol car to stay warm despite being injured, according to a police affidavit.

"He made an attempt to go look for his phone," the affidavit states.

After Ellsworth was transported to a local hospital, a tow truck driver who was called to the scene approached a UHP trooper and said he found Ellsworth's phone under the driver's side door. He then told the trooper that he "probably needed to look at this," the affidavit states.

"The phone was open to the gallery and a large amount of small pictures were displayed on the screen. All of these pictures appeared to be pornography and some contained nude children," the trooper wrote in the affidavit.

The tow truck driver said when he found the phone, he cleaned it off and pushed the power button to see if it still worked. "He informed me that the screen automatically popped up to the gallery and the pictures were visible," the report states.

"Multiple pictures of child pornography" were found, as well as "many more computerized videos," according to the affidavit.

Whether Ellsworth may have been distracted by his phone when his semi crashed was not known Monday.

Pat Reavy

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