Trucker in Sevier County crash arrested after lewd images found on phone

File photo: Gephardt Daily

SEVIER COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 25, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A commercial truck driver from Indiana who crashed his semi in Utah Saturday was placed under arrest after police say they found child pornography on a cellphone left in his rig.

John W. Ellsworth, 60, is facing three second-degree felony charges of alleged sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to a probable cause statement filed in Sevier County, the crash happened Saturday on Interstate 70 when Ellsworth’s semi hit a rock in the roadway and tipped over.

While on scene, Ellsworth allegedly seemed “difficult and unsettled,” the deputy wrote in the charging document. He refused to sit in the patrol car to keep warm despite stating he was in pain, and he tried to walk around to look for his phone, the statement said.

The deputy asked Ellsworth not to walk around until he was cleared by medical, so Ellsworth asked the deputy to look for the phone and told him where it was in the truck, the document states. The deputy looked but said he couldn’t find the phone.

After the truck driver was taken to Sevier Valley Hospital with minor injuries a tow truck driver found Ellsworth’s cellphone and brought it to the deputy, the statement says.

The tow truck driver had found the phone covered in oil and had wiped it off, then turned it on to see if it still worked. When he brought it to the deputy, he advised him to look at the screen.

“The phone was open to the gallery and a large amount of small pictures were displayed on the screen,” the document says. “All of these pictures appeared to be pornography…” with some showing children being sexually abused by adults.

In a recorded interview and written statement, the tow truck driver told the deputy that after he wiped off the phone and pushed the power button, “the screen automatically popped up to the gallery and the pictures were visible.”

Richland City Police officers went to the hospital and placed Ellsworth under arrest.

He was then transported to the Sevier County Jail, and the State Bureau of Investigation was notified.

The investigation is ongoing.

Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information is made known.


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