The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office has charged Timothy John McClelland with a misdemeanor count of gross vehicular manslaughter. Prosecutors say he was texting while driving his Cal Fire truck and that he caused the crash that took the life of Gregory Kirwin, 48, of Banning.
The three-vehicle crash was near Del Rosa Avenue in San Bernardino.
"This is a tragedy for everyone involved," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson said. "This is the only incident in Chief McClelland's 27 years of service."
"Everything at our disposal has been offered to Chief McClelland to help him get through this process legally and emotionally," Hutchinson said.
The Vehicle Code allows emergency personnel to use a cellphone while driving "in the course and scope of his or her duties."
Prosecutors have not said whether McClelland was using the phone to text for official business.
When asked if the state fire agency has changed its policy when it comes to texting and driving, Hutchinson said the policy has not changed.
"At this point, there have been no changes, and we're going to wait for the outcome to determine if changes are necessary."