Man accused of texting while driving in deadly Suffolk crash

Camren Artis (Photo courtesy: Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Suffolk man has been charged in connection to a crash that killed one man and injured another in April.

Camren Lamar Artis, 18, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and texting while operating a vehicle.

On the night of April 3, emergency crews were called to a three-vehicle crash on Godwin Boulevard near Five Mile Road. Police said the crash involved two cars and a pickup truck.

The crash killed 57-year-old Duke F. Doyle, of Suffolk. The driver of the pickup truck had non life-threatening injuries, according to police.

One man dead, one injured in Suffolk crash

Jenell Miller, assistant manager at Bunny’s Restaurant, said Doyle was a longtime customer.

“We were all in shock. He’s like a fixture around here. Every Saturday morning, every Sunday morning. A lot of times in the afternoon on the way home from work, he’d stop and get something to eat before he’d go home,” Miller said. “It’s sad. I hope he never saw what hit him, and never suffered.”

Doyle’s sister-in-law said he was not married and worked at a concrete supplier. She said he was on his way home when the crash happened.

“We miss him a lot,” she said.

According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by 10 On Your Side, Artis’ vehicle rear-ended another vehicle, causing it to be hit head-on by a third vehicle. The search warrant affidavit says Artis claimed that the vehicle in front of him stopped suddenly, but his vehicle left skid marks that were inconsistent with his statement.

The document goes on to say that Artis said he had a cell phone with him. A witness who lives near the scene of the crash reportedly saw Artis using the phone immediately after the crash, according to the search warrant affidavit.

“Due to Mr. Artis’ age, (18), and the statistical data of young drivers driving and texting or using their cell phones at the time of crashes, it is probable that Mr. Artis was utilizing his cell phone just prior to or while he rear-ended the other vehicle,” the affidavit says.

Artis has been released from Western Tidewater Regional Jail on a $5,000 bond.