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Man accused of causing fatal accident while text messaging pleads not guilty

SHARE Man accused of causing fatal accident while text messaging pleads not guilty

LOGAN — A Tremonton man accused of causing a fatal automobile accident while text messaging has pleaded not guilty to two counts of negligent homicide.

Reggie P. Shaw, 20, stood passively in 1st District Court while attorney Jon J. Bunderson entered the plea. Bunderson told Judge Thomas Wilmore that Shaw wants a jury trial.

Prosecutors contend Shaw's telephone records show he was continually sending and receiving text messages from the time he left his home until about 20 minutes later when his vehicle drifted over the center line on state Route 30, also called Valley View Highway, about 2 miles west of Logan.

Shaw's sports-utility vehicle was heading west when it sideswiped an eastbound car, which spun into oncoming traffic and was hit by a truck at 6:48 a.m. Sept. 22, 2006.

The driver of the car, James A. Furfaro, 38, of Logan died instantly. A passenger in his car, Keith P. Odell, 50, of North Logan also was killed.

Bunderson told the judge prosecutors still haven't provided him with the phone records that allegedly show Shaw was text messaging.

"The heart of this case is the cell phone records," Bunderson said.

Wilmore told prosecutors to turn over the records by Oct. 2. He scheduled a pretrial conference for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 5.

The two men killed were rocket scientists on their way to work at ATK Launch Systems Group, formerly known as Thiokol, in Box Elder County. Shaw, who was on his way to work in Logan, was not seriously injured.

A Utah Highway Patrol trooper reported Shaw continued to send and receive text messages while being questioned about the accident. Negligent homicide is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

E-mail: mikewennergren@yahoo.com