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Police Say Trucker Watching Porn Caused Death of Mother of Two

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At a time when Federal and State governments are regulating or prohibiting the use of hand held phones and devices while driving, Thomas Wallace, 45, drove his big rig on the highway while watching pornographic movies on his laptop computer and killed the mother of two little boys.

On December 12, 2009, Julie Stratton, 33, dropped her 3-year-old son off at her sisters in Rochester for the night and headed home to Snyder on the New York State Thruway, where she hit a deer near Pembroke. Her car was disabled and stopped in the westbound lane; she remained inside and called 911 to report the accident.

New York State Police say other vehicles managed to steer around and avoid crashing into Stratton’s disabled car, but not a tractor-trailer that smashed the car to pieces and killed her several minutes after she called 911.

Stratton worked as the Evaluations Coordinator at the Cantalician for Learning Center, where she was creating a program to service children with autism. She leaves behind a husband and two sons, Samuel, 3 and Benjamin, 1.

Police sent a laptop computer found within Wallace’s reach in the truck cab to the Western New York Regional Computer Forensics Lab, where they found it was in use and streaming pornographic movies at the time of the crash. Police believe it likely caused a distraction, preventing Wallace from seeing and avoiding Stratton’s disabled vehicle.

Investigators also found that Wallace was in violation of federal regulations that limit the working hours of commercial drivers by driving with no more than four hours of sleep and being on duty for 27 hours prior to the fatal crash. They also found to him to be keeping a fictitious logbook.

Their investigation of the December 2009 accident complete, police arrested Wallace, of Brook Park, OH, and charged him with second-degree manslaughter. He is being held in the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

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