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UHP: Indiana truck driver caught with child porn after crash on I-70

Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 18:56:11-04

SEVIER COUNTY, Utah — An Indiana semitrailer driver faces felony child pornography charges after a tow truck driver found his cellphone in the aftermath of a crash on I-70 last week.

John W. Ellsworth, 60, was driving a semitrailer near milepost 70 on Saturday when the vehicle hit a rock and turned on its side.

According to a probable cause statement, Ellsworth told a Utah Highway Patrol trooper he was injured and had pain in his leg, but he seemed "difficult and unsettled" and refused to sit in the patrol car as they waited for a tow truck and an ambulance.

Ellsworth made an attempt to find his phone, but the trooper asked Ellsworth not to walk around until medical responders cleared him, the statement said. Ellsworth went to Sevier Valley Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Meanwhile, as the trooper remained at the crash scene to control traffic, a tow truck driver approached the trooper and showed the trooper Ellsworth's phone, the statement said.

"I reached for the phone and he pulled it away. He then showed me the phone's screen and stated I probably need to look at 'this.' 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 with adults performing sexual acts to them," the trooper wrote in the statement.

The tow truck driver reported he found Ellsworth's phone covered in oil under the driver's side door of the overturned semitrailer.

"He then wiped it off and pushed the power button in order to see if it still worked. He informed me that the screen automatically popped up to the gallery and the pictures were visible," the statement said.

The trooper asked Richfield officers to go to Sevier Valley Hospital and place Ellsworth under arrest.

"In [Ellsworth's] phone, [State Bureau of Investigation officials] located multiple pictures of child pornography, many more computerized videos of adults performing sexual actions with young children, and a picture of a young girl on a bicycle that was clearly taken from the driver seat of a semi truck," the statement said. "[Ellsworth] admitted to masturbating to these pictures in an interview with SBI."

Ellsworth was booked into the Sevier County Jail and he faces three second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.