Halberstam's driver charged in fatal crash

The UC Berkeley graduate student driving David Halberstam the day the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist died in a three-car collision has been charged with a misdemeanor, signaling another sad chapter in the ordeal.

San Mateo County District Attorney James Fox charged 26-year-old Kevin Jones with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence for the April 23 accident at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road in Menlo Park.

Jones was driving the Vietnam War-era journalist to Mountain View for an interview with Y.A. Tittle, a well-known former 49ers and New York Giants star, when the accident occurred.

Halberstam lived in New York and was in the Bay Area for a lecture at UC Berkeley two days before the crash.

Jones, driving a Toyota Camry, allegedly made a left-hand turn onto Willow against a red light arrow when a late-model Infiniti broadsided the Camry. All drivers suffered injuries, but Halberstam, who was 73, was the only death.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Jones was distracted by having the famous author — his “idol” — in the car with him and was paying too much attention to their discussion and not enough to the road.

“It was one of those things where Mr. Jones was star-struck,” Wagstaffe said.

Jones faces at most a year in county jail and up to a $1,000 fine, Wagstaffe said. The misdemeanor complaint will be filed next week in San Mateo County Superior Court. Jones is set to be arraigned July 11.

Jones’ attorney Laurel Headley said she had not seen all of the evidence in the case yet and therefore would not comment on it. Jones was distraught by the whole incident, she said.

“He’s just devastated. He’s been devastated,” Headley said.

The author and journalist was known for his book, “The Best and the Brightest,” among others, detailing the origins of the Vietnam War, which he covered for The New York Times.

He ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage, but he also wrote extensively about sports, including “Summer of ’49,” a story of that year’s pennant race between American League East rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

dsmith@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A lab worker from the Medical Examiner’s Office was arrested with an evidence bag of methamphetamine in August. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Audit over lab worker meth arrest finds medical examiner is missing drugs

An audit of the Medical Examiner’s Office prompted by the arrest of… Continue reading

City officials argue that the dominance of a few third-party delivery services gives them disproportionate leverage against restaurants. (Courtesy photo)
Cap on food delivery app fees may remain until indoor dining allowed at full capacity

Proposal seen as financial relief for restaurants struggling in pandemic

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The main entrance to Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Voting rights of seniors, disabled must be protected

Coronavirus pandemic adds new challenges for accessing the polls

Most Read